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THE 
DRUMS OF JEOPARDY 



. a, CALIF. LIBRARY. LO! 




'See that taxi going across town? Follow it and I 
will give you ten extra fare' " 



THE DRUMS 
OF JEOPARDY 



BY 

HAROLD MACGRATH 



ILLUSTRATED BY 

RALPH FALLEN COLEMAN 




NEW YORK 

GROSSET & DUNLAP 
PUBLISHERS 



Made in the Uruted States of America 



COPYRIGHT, 1980, BY 
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION" 
INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES, INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN 

COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY THE CURTIS PCBLISHING COMPANY 

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES 

AT 
THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS, GARDEN CITY, N. Y. 



THE 
DRUMS OF JEOPARDY 



2131641 



The Drums Of Jeopardy 

CHAPTER I 

A FAST train drew into Albany, on the New 
York Central, from the West. It was three- 
thirty of a chill March morning in the first 
year of peace. A pall of fog lay over the world so 
heavy that it beaded the face and hands and de- 
posited a fairy diamond dust upon wool. The sta- 
tion lights had the visibility of stars, and like the 
stars were without refulgence a pale golden aureola, 
perhaps three feet in diameter, and beyond, nothing. 
The few passengers who alighted and the train itself 
had the same nebulosity of drab fish in a dim aquar- 
ium. 

Among the passengers to detrain was a man in a 
long black coat. The high collar was up. The man 
wore a derby hat, well down upon his head, after the 
English mode. An English kitbag, battered and 
scarred, swung heavily from his hand. He immedi- 
ately strode for the station wall and stood with his 
back to it. He was almost invisible. He remained 
motionless until the other detrained passengers 
swam past, until the red tail lights of the last coach 

s 



4 The Drums of Jeopardy 

vanished into the deeps; then he rushed for the exit 
to the street. 

Away toward the far end of the platform there 
appeared a shadowy patch in the fog. It grew and 
presently took upon itself the shape of a man. For 
one so short and squat and thick his legs possessed 
remarkable agility, for he reached the street just as 
the other man stopped at the side of a taxicab. 

The fool! As if such a movement had not been 
anticipated. Sixteen thousand miles, always east- 
ward, on horses, camels, donkeys, trains, and ships; 
down China to the sea, over that to San Francisco, 
thence across this bewildering stretch of cities and 
plains called the United States, always and ever 
toward New York and the fool thought he could 
escape! Thought he was flying, when in truth he 
was being driven toward a wall in which there would 
be no breach! Behind and in front the net was 
closing. Up to this hour he had been extremely 
clever in avoiding contact. This was his first stupid 
act thought the fog would serve as an impenetrable 
cloak. 

Meantime, the other man reached into the taxicab 
and awoke the sleeping chauffeur. 

"A hotel," he said. 

"Which one?" 

"Any one will do." 

"Yes, sir. Two dollars." 

"When we arrive. No; I'll take the bag inside 



The Drums of Jeopardy 5" 

with me." Inside the cab the fare chuckled. For 
those who fished there would be no fish in the net. 
This fog like a kindly hand reaching down from 
heaven ! 

Five minutes later the taxicab drew up in front of a 
hotel. The unknown stepped out, took a leather 
purse, from his pocket and carefully counted out in 
silver two dollars and twenty cents, which he poured 
into the chauffeur's palm. 

"Thank you, sir." 

"You are an American?" 

"Sure! I was born in this burg." 

"Like the idea?" 

"Huh?" 

"The idea of being an American?" 

"I should say yes! This is one grand little gob 
o' mud, believe me! It's going to be dry in a little 
while, and then it will be some grand little old brick. 
Say, let me give you a tip! The gas in this joint is 
extra if you blow it out!" 

Grinning, the chauffeur threw on the power and 
wheeled away into the fog. 

His late fare followed the vehicle with his gaze 
until it reached the vanishing point, then he laughed. 
An American cockney! He turned and entered the 
hotel. He marched resolutely up to the desk and 
roused the sleeping clerk, who swung round the 
register. The unknown without hesitance inscribed 
his name, which was John Hawksley, But he hesi- 






The Drums of Jeopardy 



Yes, sir. Here, boy! 



the wiser! 



The Drums of Jeopardy 7 

the pinched forehead of the fanatic. Not wholly 
unpleasant, not particularly agreeable; the sort of 
individual one preferred to walk round rather than 
bump into. The clerk offered the register, and the 
squat man scratched his name impatiently, grabbed 
the extended key, and trotted to the elevator. 

"Ah," mused the clerk, "we have with us Mr. 

Poppy Popo " He stared at the signature 

close up. "Hanged if I can make it out! It looks 
like some new brand of soft drink we'll be having 
after July first. Greek or Bulgarian. Anyhow, he 
didn't awsk for a bawth. Looks as if he needed one, 
too. Here, boy!" 

"Ye-ah!" 

"Take a peek at this John Hancock." 

"Gee! That must be the guy who makes that 
drugstore drink Boolzac." 

The clerk swung out, but missed the boy's head 
by a hair. The boy stood off, grinning. 

"Well,youastme!" 

"All right. If anybody else comes in tell 'em 
we're full up. I'll be a wreck to-morrow without 
my usual beauty sleep." The clerk dropped into 
his chair again and elevated his feet to the radiator. 

"Want me t' git a pillow for yuh?" 

"No back talk!" drowsily. 

"Oh! boy, but I got one on you! " 

"What?" 

"This Boolzac guy didn't have no baggage, an* 



8 The Drums of Jeopardy 

yuh give 'im the key without little ol' three-per in 
advance." 

"No grip?" 

"Nix. Not a toot'brush in sight." 

"Well, the damage is done. I might as well go 
to sleep." 

It was not premeditated on the part of the clerk 
to give the squat man the room adjoining that of 
Hawksley's. The key had been nearest his hand. 
But the squat man trembled with excitement when 
he noted that it was stamped 214. He had taken 
particular pains to search the register for Hawksley's 
number before rousing the clerk. He hadn't counted 
on any such luck as this. His idea had been merely 
to watch the door of Room 212. 

He had the feline foot, as they say. He moved 
about lightly and without sound in the dark. Al- 
most at once he approached one of the two doors 
and put his ear to the panel. Running water. The 
fool had time to take a bath ! 

A plan flashed into his head. Why not end the 
affair here and now, and reap the glory for himself? 
What mattered the net if the fish swam into your 
hand? Wasn't this particularly his affair? It was 
the end, not the means. A close touch in Hong- 
Kong, but the fool had slipped away. But there, hi 
the next room, assured that he had escaped it 
would be easy. The squat man tiptoed to the win- 
dow. Luck of luck, there was a fire-escape plat- 



The Drums of Jeopardy 9 

form! He would let half an hour pass, then he would 
act. The ape, with his British mannerisms ! Death 
to the breed, root and branch! He sat down to 
wait. 

On the other side of the wall the bather finished 
his ablutions. His body was graceful, vigorous, and 
youthful, tinted a golden bronze. His nose was 
hawky; his eyes a Latin brown, alert and roving, 
though there was a hint of weariness in them, the 
pressure of long, racking hours of ceaseless vigilance. 
His top hair was a glossy black inclined to curl; 
but the four days' growth of beard was as blond as a 
ripe chestnut burr. In spite of this mark of vaga- 
bondage there were elements of beauty in the face. 
The expanse of the brow and the shape of the head 
were intellectual. The mouth was pleasure-loving, 
but the nose and the jaw neutralized this. 

After he had towelled himself he reached down for 
a brown leather pouch which lay on the three-legged 
bathroom stool. It was patently a tobacco pouch, 
but there was evidently something inside more 
precious than Saloniki. He held the pouch on his 
palm and stared at it as if it contained some jinn 
clamouring to be let out. Presently he broke away 
from this fascination and rocked his body, eyes 
closed like a man suffering unremitting pain. 

"God's curse on them!" he whispered, opening his 
eyes. He raised the pouch swiftly, as though he 
intended dashing it to the tiled floor; but his arm sank 



10 The Drums of Jeopardy 

gently. After all, he would be a fool to destroy 
them. They were future bread and butter. 

He would soon have their equivalent in money 
money that would bring back no terrible recollec- 
tions. 

Strange that every so often, despite the horror, 
he had to take them out and gaze at them. He 
sat down upon the stool, spread a towel across his 
knees, and opened the pouch. He drew out a roll 
of cotton wool, which he unrolled across the towel. 
Flames! Blue names, red, yellow, violet, and green 
precious stones, many of them with histories that 
reached back into the dim centuries, histories of 
murder and loot and envy. The young man had 
imagination perhaps too much of it. He saw the 
stones palpitating upon lovely white and brown 
bosoms; he saw bloody and greedy hands, the red 
sack of towns; he heard the screams of women and 
the raucous laughter of drunken men. Murder and 
loot. 

At the end of the cotton wool lay two emeralds 
about the size of half dollars and half an inch in 
thickness, polished, and as vividly green as a dragon- 
fly in the sun, fit for the turban of Schariar, spouse of 
Scheherazade. 

Rodin would have seized upon the young man's 
attitude the limp body, the haggard face hewn 
it out of marble and called it Conscience. The 
possessor of the stones held this attitude for three or 



The Drums of Jeopardy 11 

four minutes Then he rolled up the cotton wool, 
jammed it into the pouch, which he hung to his neck 
by a thong, and sprang to his feet. No more of this 
brooding; it was sapping his vitality; and he was not 
yet at his journey's end. 

He proceeded to the bedroom, emptied the bat- 
tered-kitbag, and began to dress. He put on heavy 
tan walking shoes, gray woollen stockings, gray 
knickerbockers, gray flannel shirt, and a Norfolk 
jacket minus the third button. 

Ah, that button! He fingered the loose threads 
which had aforetime snugged the button to the wool. 
The carelessness of a tailor had saved his life. Had 
that button held, his bones at this moment would be 
reposing on the hillside in far-away Hong-Kong. 
Evidently Fate had some definite plans regarding 
his future, else he would not be in this room, alive. 
But what plans? Why should Fate bother about him 
further? She had strained the orange to the last 
drop. Why protect the pulp? Perhaps she was 
only making sport of him, lulling him into the belief 
that eventually he might win through. One thing, 
she would never be able to twist his heart again. 
You cannot fill a cup with water beyond the brim. 
And God knew that his cup had been full and bitter 
and red. 

His hand swept across his eyes as if to brush away 
the pictures suddenly conjured up. He must keep 
his thoughts off those things. There was a taint of 



12 The Drums of Jeopardy 

madness in his blood, and several times he had sensed 
the brink at his feet. But God had been kind to him 
in one respect: The blood of his glorious mother pre- 
dominated. 

How many were after him, and who? He had 
not been able to recognize the man that night in 
Hong-Kong. That was the fate of the pursued: one 
never dared pause to look back, while the pursuers 
had their man before them always. If only he 
could have broken through into Greece, England 
would have been easy. The only door open had 
been in the East. It seemed incredible that he 
should be standing in this room, but three hours 
from his goal. 

America! The land of the free and the brave! 
And the irony of it was that he must seek in America 
the only friends he had in the world. All the Eng- 
lishmen he had known and loved were dead. He had 
never made friends with the French, though he loved 
France. In this country alone he might successfully 
lose himself and begin life anew. The British were 
British and the French were French; but in this 
magnificent America they possessed the tenacity of 
the one and the gayety of the other these joyous, 
unconquered, speed-loving Americans. 

He took up the overcoat. Under the light it was 
no longer black but a very deep green. On both 
sleeves there were narrow bands of a still deeper 
green, indicating that gold or silver braid had once 



The Drums of Jeopardy 13 

X 

befrogged the cuffs. Inside, soft silky Persian lamb; 
and he ran his fingers over the fur thoughtfully. 
The coat was still impregnated with the strong odour 
of horse. He cast it aside, never to touch it again. 

From the discarded small coat he extracted a black 
wallet and opened it. That passport! He wondered 
if there existed another more cleverly forged. It 
would not have served an hour west of the Hinden- 
burg Line; but hi the East and here in America no 
one had questioned it. In San Francisco they had 
scarcely glanced at it, peace having come. 

Besides this passport the wallet contained a will, 
ten bonds, a custom appraiser's receipt and a sheaf 
of gold bills. The will, however, was perhaps one of 
the most astonishing documents conceivable. It 
left inreservedly to Capt. John Hawksley the con- 
tents of the wallet ! 

Within three hours of his ultimate destination! 
He knew all about great cities. An hour after he left 
the tram, if he so willed, he could lose himself for all 
time. 

From the bottom of the kitbag he dug up a blue 
velours case, which after a moment's hesitation he 
opened. Medals incrusted with precious stones; 
but on the top was the photograph of a charming girl, 
blonde as ripe wheat, and arrayed for the tennis court. 
It was this photograph he wanted. Indifferently he 
tossed the case upon the centre table, and it upset, 
sending the medals about with a ring and a tinkle, 



14 The Drums of Jeopardy 

The man in the next room heard this sound, and his 
eye roved desperately. Some way to peer into 
yonder room! But there was no transom, and he 
would not yet dare risk the fire escape. 

The young man raised the photograph to his lips 
and kissed it passionately. 

Then he hid it in the lining of his coat, there being a 
convenient rent in the inside pocket. 

"I must not think!" he murmured. "I must 
not!" 

He became the hunted man again. He turned a 
chair upend and placed it under the window. He 
tipped another in front of the door. On the threshold 
of the bathroom door he deposited the water carafe 
and the glasses. His bed was against the connecting 
door. No man would be able to enter unannounced. 

He had no intention of letting himself fall asleep. 
He would stretch out and rest. So he lit his pipe, 
banked the two pillows, switched out the light, and 
lay down. Only the intermittent glow of his pipe 
coal could be seen. Near the journey's end; and no 
more tight-rope walking, with death at both ends, 
and death staring up from below. Queer how the 
human being clung to life. What had he to live for? 
Nothing. So far as he was concerned, the world 
had come to an end. Sporting instinct; probably 
that was it; couldn't make up his mind to shuffle off 
this mortal coil until he had beaten his enemies. 
English university education had dulled the bite of 



The Drums of Jeopardy 15 

his natural fatalism. To carry on for the sport of it; 
not to accept fate but to fight it. 

By chance his hand touched his spiky chin. Never- 
theless, he would have to enter New York just as he 
was. He had left his razor in a Pullman washroom 
hurriedly one morning. He dared not risk a barber's 
chair, especially these American chairs, that stretched 
one out in a most helpless manner. 

Slowly his pipe sank toward his breast. The 
weary body was overcoming the will. A sound broke 
the pleasant spell. He sat up, tense. 

Someone had entered through the window and 
stumbled over the chair! Hawksley threw on the 
light. 



CHAPTER II 

WHEN the day clerk arrived the night clerk 
sleepily informed him that the guest in 
Room 214 was without baggage and had 
not paid in advance. 
"Leave a call?" 

"No. I thought I'd put you wise. I didn't 
notice that the man had no grip until he was in the 
elevator." 

"All right. I'll send the bell-hop captain up 
with a fake call to see if the man's still there." 

When the captain late of the A.E.F. in France- 
returned to the office he was mildly excited. 

"Gee, there's been a whale of a scrap in Room 212. 
The chambermaid let me in." 

; 'Murder?" whispered the clerks in unison. 

"Murder your granny! Naw! Just a fight be- 
tween 212 and 214, because both of 'em have flown 
the roost. But take a peek at what I found on the 
table." 

It was a case of blue velours. The boy threw 
back the lid dramatically. 

"War medals?" 

"If they are I never piped 'em before. They 
ain't French or British." The captain of the bell- 



16 



The Drums of Jeopardy 17 

boys scratched his head ruminatively. "Gee, I 
got it! Orders, that's what they all 'em. Kings 
pay 'em out Saturdays when the pay roll is nix. 
Will you pipe the diamonds and rubies? There's 
your room rents, monseer." 

The day clerk, who considered himself a judge, 
was of the opinion that there were two or three 
thousand dollars tied up hi the stones. It was a 
police affair. Some ambassador had been robbed, 
and the Britisher and the Greek or Bulgarian were 
mixed up in it. Loot. 

"I thought the war was over," said the night clerk. 

"The shootin' is over, that's all," said the captain 
of the bellboys, sagely. 

What had happened in Room 212? A duel of wits 
rather than of physical contact. Hawksley realized 
instantly that here was the crucial moment. Caught 
and overpowered, he was lost. If he shouted for 
help and it came, he was lost. Once the police took a 
hand in the affair, the newspaper publicity that would 
follow would result in the total rum of all his hopes. 
There was only one chance to finish this affair 
outside the hotel, in some fog-dimmed street. There 
leaped into his mind, obliquely and queerly, a picture 
in one of Victor Hugo's tales Quasimodo. And 
there he stood, in every particular save the crooked 
back. And on the top of this came the recollection 
that he had seen the man before. . . . The 
torches! The red torches and the hobnailed boots! 



18 The Drums of Jeopardy 

There began an odd game, a dancing match, which 
the young man led adroitly, always with his thought 
upon the open window. There would be no shoot- 
ing; Quasimodo would not want the police either. 
Hah* a dozen times his fingers touched futilely the 
dancing master's coat. Back and forth across the 
room, over the bed, round the stand and chairs. 
Persistently, as if he understood the young man's 
manoeuvres, the squat individual kept to the window 
side of the room. 

An inspiration brought the affair to an end. 
Hawksley snatched up the bedclothes and threw 
them as the ancient retiarius threw his net. He 
managed to win to the lower platform of the fire 
escape before Quasimodo emerged. 

There was a fourteen-foot drop to the street, and 
the man with the golden stubble on his chin and 
cheeks swung for a moment to gauge his landing. 
Quasimodo came after with the agility of an ape. 
The race down the street began with about a hundred 
yards in between. 

Down the hfll they went, like phantoms. The 
distance did not widen. Bears will run amazingly 
fast and for a long while. The quarry cut into 
Pearl Street for a block, turned a corner, and soon 
vaguely espied the Hudson River. He made for 
this. 

To the mind of Quasimodo this flight had but one 
significance he was dealing with an arrant coward; 



The Drums of Jeopardy 19 

and he based his subsequent acts upon this premise, 
forgetting that brave men run when need says must. 
It would have surprised him exceedingly to learn 
that he was not driving, that he was being led. 
Hawksley wanted his enemy alone, where no one 
would see to interfere. Red torches and hobnailed 
boots!- For once the two bloods, always more or 
less at war, merged in a common purpose to kill 
this beast, to grind the face of him into pulp! Red 
torches and hobnailed boots! 

Presently one of the huge passenger boats, moored 
for the winter, loomed up through the fog; and toward 
this Hawksley directed his steps. He made a flying 
leap aboard and vanished round the deckhouse to the 
river side. 

Quasimodo laughed as he followed. It was as if 
the tobacco pouch and the appraiser's receipt were 
in his own pocket; and broad rivers made capital 
graveyards. They two alone in the fog! He whirled 
round the deckhouse and backed on his heels to get 
his balance. Directly in front, in a very understand- 
able pose, was the intended victim, his jaw jutting, 
his eyelids narrowed. 

Quasimodo tried desperately to reach for his pistol; 
but a bolt of lightning stopped the action. There is 
something peculiar about a blow on the nose, a good 
blow. The Anglo-Saxon peoples alone possess the 
counterattack a rush. To other peoples concentra- 
tion of thought is impossible after the impact. In- 



The Drums of Jeopardy 
stinctively Quasimodo's hands flew to his face He 

M / 7*' mirtUeSS and ter *'e- Before he 
could drop his hands from his face-blows, snort and 
bonng, from this side and from that, over and under 
he squat man was brave enough; simply he did 
not kaow how to fight in this manner. He was am 

' 



WJd with rage and pain he bored in. He had but 



himself and this enemy 

woefully underestimated. Ten feet, and he mi e hT 
b ab,e to whirl, draw his pisiol, and endte* 



sagged and went spraw.ing upon his face xe 
tor turned him over ^ raised a j^ ^ 

He was neither Prussian nor Sudanese black 



there was one thing a white man might do 



The Drums of Jeopardy 21 

in such a case without disturbing the ethical, and he 
proceeded about it forthwith: Draw the devil's 
fangs; render him impotent for a few hours. 

He deliberately knelt on one of the outspread arms 
and calmly emptied the insensible man's pockets. 
He took everything watch, money, passport, letters, 
pistol, keys rose and dropped them into the river. 
He overlooked Quasimodo's belt, however. The 
Anglo-Saxon idea was top hole. His fists had saved 
his life. 



CHAPTER 

HAWKSLEY heard the panting of an engine 
and turned his head. Dimly he saw a giant 
bridge and a long drab train moving across 
it. He picked up the fallen man's cap and tried it 
on. Not a particularly good fit, but it would serve. 
He then trotted round the deckhouse to the street 
side, jumped to the wharf, and sucking the cracked 
knuckles of his right hand fell into a steady dogtrot 
which carried him to the station he had left so hope- 
fully an hour and a half gone. 

An accommodation train eventually deposited 
him in Poughkeepsie, where he purchased a cap and a 
sturdy walking stick. The stubble on his chin and 
cheeks began to irritate him intensely, but he could 
not rid himself of the idea that a barber's chair would 
be inviting danger. He was now tolerably certain 
that from one end of the continent to the other his 
presence was known. His life and his property, 
they would be after both. Even now there might be 
men in this strange town seeking him. The closer 
he got to New York, the more active and wide-awake 
they would become. 

He walked the streets, his glance constantly 
roving. But apparently no one paid the least atten- 

22 



The Drums of Jeopardy 23 

tion to him. Finally he returned to the railway sta- 
tion; and at six o'clock that evening he left the 
platform of the 125th Street Station, and appraised 
covertly the men who accompanied him to the street. 
He felt assured that they were all Americans. Prob- 
ably they were; but there are still some stray fools 
of American birth who cannot accept the great Amer- 
ican doctrine as the only Ararat visible in this present 
flood. Perhaps one of these accompanied Hawksley 
to the street. Whatever he was, one had upon order 
met every south-going train since seven o'clock that 
morning, when Quasimodo, paying from the gold 
hidden in his belt, had sent forth the telegraphic 
alarm. The man hurried across the street and fol- 
lowed Hawksley by matching his steps. His busi- 
ness was merely to learn the other's destination and 
then to report. 

1 Across the earth a tempest had been loosed; but 
Ariel did not ride it, Caliban did. The scythe of 
terror was harvesting a type; and the innocent were 
bending with the guilty. 

Suddenly Hawksley felt young, revivified, free. 
He had arrived. Surmounting indescribable haz- 
ards and hardships he walked the pavement of New 
York. In an hour the mutable quicksands of a great 
city would swallow him forever. Free! He wanted 
to stroll about, peer into shop windows, watch the 
amazing electric signs, dally; but he still had much 
to accomplish. 



24 The Drums of Jeopardy 

He searched for a telephone sign. It was neces- 
sary that he find one immediately. He had once 
spent six weeks in and about this marvellous city, 
and he had a vague recollection of the blue-and- 
white enamel signs. Shortly he found one. It was a 
pay station in the rear of a news and tobacco shop. 

He entered a booth, but discovered that he had no 
five-cent pieces in his purse. He hurried out to the 
girl behind the cigar stand. She was exhibiting a box 
of cigars to a customer, who selected three, paid for 
them, and walked away. Hawksley, boiling with 
haste to have his affair done, flung a silver coin 
toward the girl. 

"Five-cent pieces!" 

"Will you take them with you or shall I send 
them?" asked the girl, earnestly. 

"I beg pardon!" 

"Any particular kind of ribbon you want the box 
tied with?" 

"I beg your pardon!" repeated Hawksley, har- 
ried and bewildered. "But I'm in a hurry " 

"Too much of a hurry to leave out the bark when 
you ask a favour? I make change out of courtesy. 
And you all bark at me Nickel ! Nickel ! as if that was 
my job." 

"A thousand apologies!" contritely. 

"And don't make it any worse by suggesting a 
movie after supper. My mother never lets me go out 
after dark." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 25 

i 

"I rather fancy she's quite sensible. Still, you 
seem able to take care of yourself. I might sug- 
gest- 

"With that black eye? Nay, nay! I'll bet some- 
body's brother gave it to you." 

"Venus was not on that occasion in ascendancy. 
Thank you for the change." Hawksley swung on 
his heel and reentered the booth. 

A great weariness oppressed him. A longing, al- 
most irresistible, came to him to go out and cry 
aloud: "Here I am! Kill me! I am tired and 
done!" For he had recognized the purchaser of 
the cigars as one of the men who had left the 125th 
Street Station at the same time as he. He remem- 
bered distinctly that this man had been in a hurry. 
Perhaps the whole dizzy affair was reacting upon his 
imagination psychologically and turning harmless 
individuals into enemies. 

"Hello! " said a man's voice over the wire. 

"Is Mr. Rathbone there?" 

"Captain Rathbone is with his regiment at Co- 
blenz, sir." 

"Coblenz?" 

"Yes, sir. I do not expect his return until near 
midsummer, sir. Who is this talking?" 

"Have you opened a cable from Yokohama?" 

"This is Mr. Hawksley!" The voice became 
excited. 

"Yes." 



26 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Oh, sir! You will come right away. I alone 
understand, sir. You will remember me when you 
see me. I'm the captain's butler, sir Jenkins. He 
cabled back to give you the entire run of the house as 
long as you desired it. He advised me to notify 
you that he had also prepared his banker against 
your arrival. Have your luggage sent here at once, 
sir. Dinner will be at your convenience." 

Hawksley's body relaxed. A lump came into his 
throat. Here was a friend, anyhow, ready to serve 
him though he was thousands of miles away. 

When he could trust himself to speak he said: 
"Sorry. It will be impossible to accept the hospi- 
tality at present. I shall call in a few days, however, 
to establish my identity. Thank you. Good even- 
ing." 

"Just a moment, sir. I may have an important 
cable to transmit to you. It would be wise to leave 
me your address, sir." 

Hawksley hesitated a moment. After all, he could 
trust this perfect old servant, whom he remembered. 
He gave the address. 

As he came out of the booth the girl stretched forth 
an arm to detain him. He stopped. 

"I'm sorry I spoke like that," she said. "But I'm 
so tired! I've been on my feet all day, and every- 
body's been barking and growling; and if I'd taken 
in as many nickels as I've passed out in change the 
boss would be rich." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 27 

"Give me a dozen of those roses there." She 
sold flowers also. "The pink ones. How much?" 
he asked. 

"Two-fifty." 

He laid down the money. "Never mind the box. 
They are for you. Good evening." 

The girl stared at the flowers as Ali Baba must have 
stared at the cask with rubies. 

" For me ! " she whispered. " For nothing ! " 

Her eyes blurred. She never saw Hawksley 
again; but that was of no importance. She had 
a gentle deed to put away in the lavender of 
recollection. 

Outside Hawksley could see nothing of the man 
who had bought the cigars. At any rate, further 
dodging would be useless. He would go directly 
to his destination. Old Gregor had sent him a 
duplicate key to the apartment. He could hide 
there for a day or two; then visit Rathbone's banker 
at his residence in the night to establish his identity. 
Gregor could be trusted to carry the wallet and the 
pouch to the bank. Once these were walled in steel 
half the battle would be over. He would have 
nothing to guard thereafter but his life. He laughed 
brokenly. Nothing but the clothes he stood in. 
He never could claim the belongings he had been 
forced to leave in that hotel back yonder. 

But there was loyal old Gregor. Somebody would 
be honestly glad to see him. The poor old chap! 



28 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Astonishing, but of late he was always thinking : 
English. 

He hailed the first free taxicab he saw, climbed i 
and was driven downtown. He looked back coi 
stantly. Was he followed? There was no way ( 
telling. The street was alive with vehicles tearu] 
north and south, with frequent stoppage for the pa; 
sage of those racing east and west. The destinatio 
of Hawksley's cab was an old-fashioned apartmer 
house in Eightieth Street. 

Gregor would have a meal ready; and it struc 
Hawksley forcibly that he was hungry, that he ha 
not touched food since the night before. Gregoi 
valeting in a hotel, pressing coats and trousers an< 
sewing on buttons! Groggy old world, wasn't it 
Gregor, pressing the trousers of the hoi polloi 
Gregor, who could have sent New York mad wit] 
that old Stradivarius of his! But Gregor was wise 
Safety for him lay in obscurity; and what was mor< 
obscure than a hotel valet? 

He did not seek the elevator but mounted the firs 
flight of stairs. He saw two doors, one on each sid< 
of the landing. He sought one, stooped and peerec 
at the card over the bell. Conover. Gregor's wa* 
opposite. Having a key he did not knock but un- 
locked the door and stepped into the dark hall. 

"Stefani Gregor?" he called, joyously. "Stefani. 
my old friend, it is I!" 

Silence. But that was understandable. Either 



The Drums of Jeopardy 29 

Gregor had not returned from his labours or he was 
out gathering the essentials for the evening meal. 
Judging from the variety of odours that swam the 
halls of this human warren many suppers were in 
the process of making, and the top flavour was garlic. 
He sniffed pleasurably. Not that the smell of garlic 
quickened his hunger. It merely sent his thought 
galloping backward a score of years. He saw Stefani 
Gregor and a small boy hi mountain costume footing 
it sturdily along the dizzy goat paths of the rugged 
hills; saw the two sitting on some ruddy promontory 
and munching black bread rubbed with garlic. 
Ambrosia! His mother's horror, when she smelt 
his breath as if garlic had not been one of her birth- 
rights! His uncle, roaring out in his bull's voice 
that black bread and garlic were good for little boys' 
stomachs, and made the stuff of soldiers. Black 
bread and garlic and the Golden Age! 

After he had flooded the hall with light he began 
a tour of inspection. The rooms were rather bare 
but clean and orderly. Here and there were items 
that kept the homeland green hi the recollection. 
He came to the bedroom last. He hesitated for a 
moment before opening the door. The lights told 
him why Gregor had not greeted his entering 
hail. 

The overturned reading lamp, the broken chair, the 
letters and papers strewn about the floor, the rifled 
bureau drawers these things spoke plainly enough. 



30 

Gregor was a prisoner somewhere in this vast city; 
or he was dead. 

Hawksley stood motionless for a space. And he 
must remain here at least for a night and a day! 
He would not dare risk another hotel. He could, 
of course, go to the splendid Rathbone place; but 
it would not be fair to invite tragedy across that 
threshold. 

A ball of crushed paper at his feet attracted his 
attention. He kicked it absently, followed and 
picked it up, his thought on other things. He was 
aimlessly smoothing it out when an English word 
caught his eye. English! He smoothed the 
crumpled sheet and read: 

If you find this it is the will of God. I have been watched for 
several days, and am now convinced that they have always 
known I was here but were leaving me alone for some unknown 
purpose. I roll this ball because anything folded and left in a 
conspicuous place would be useless should they come for me. I 
understand. It is you, poor boy. They are watching me in 
hopes of catching you, and I've no way to warn you not to come 
here. It was after I sent you the key that I learned the truth. 
God bless you and guard you ! 

STEFANI. 

Hawksley tore the note into scraps. Food and 
sleep. He walked toward the kitchen, musing. 
What an odd mixture he was! Superficially British, 
with the British outlook; and yet filled with the 
dancing blood of the Latin and the cold, phlegmatic 
blood of the Slav. He was like a schoolmaster with 



TJie Drums of Jeopardy 31 

two students too big for him to handle. Always the 
Latin was dispossessing the Slav or the Slav was 
ousting the Latin. With fatalistic confidence that 
nevermore would he look upon the kindly face of 
Stefani Gregor, alive, he went in search of food. 

Not a crust did he find. In the ice-chest there was 
a bottle of milk soured. Hungry; and not a 
crumb! And he dared not go out in search of food. 
No one had observed his entrance to the apartment, 
but it was improbable that such luck would attend 
him a second time. 

He returned to the bedroom. He did not turn 
on the light because a novel idea had blossomed un- 
expectedly a Latin idea. There might be food on 
some window ledge. He would leave payment. 
He proceeded to the window, throwing up both it 
and the curtain, and looked out. Ripping! There 
was a fire escape. 

As he slipped a leg over the sill a golden square 
sprang into existence across the way. Immediately 
he forgot his foraging instincts. In a moment he 
was all Latin, always susceptible to the enchantment 
of beauty. 

The distance across the court was less than forty 
feet. He could see the girl quite plainly as she set 
about the preparation of her evening meal. He 
forgot his danger, his hunger, his code of ethics, 
which did not permit him to gaze at a young woman 
through a window. 



32 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Alone. He was alone and she was alone. A novel 
idea popped into his head. He chuckled; and the 
sound of that chuckle in his ears somehow brought 
back his resolve to carry on, to pass out, if so he must, 
fighting. He would knock on yonder window and 
ask the beautiful lady slavey for a bit of her supper! 



CHAPTER IV 

K[TTY CONOVER had inherited brains and 
"beauty, and nothing else but the furniture. 
Her father had been a famous reporter, the 
admiration of cubs from New York to San Fran- 
cisco; handsome, happy-go-lucky, generous, rather 
improvident, and wholly lovable. Her mother had 
been a comedy actress noted for her beauty and 
wit and extravagance. Thus it will be seen that 
Kitty was in luck to inherit any furniture at all. 

Kitty was twenty -four. A body is as old as it is, 
but a brain is as old as the facts it absorbs; and Kitty 
had absorbed enough facts to carry her brain well 
into the thirties. 

Conover had been dead twenty years; and Kitty 
had scarcely any recollections of him. Improvident 
as the run of newspaper writers are, Conover had ful- 
filled one obligation to his family he had kept up his 
endowment policies; and for eighteen years the insur- 
ance had taken care of Kitty and her mother, who be- 
cause of a weak ankle had not been able to return to 
the scenes of her former triumphs. In 1915 this 
darling mother, whom Kitty loved to idolatry, had 
passed on. 

There was enough for the funeral and the cleaning 

33 



34 TJie Drums of Jeopardy 

up of the bills; but that was all. The income ceased 
with Mrs. Conover's demise. Kitty saw that she 
must give up writing short stories which nobody 
wanted, and go to work. So she proceeded at once 
to the newspaper office where her father's name was 
still a tradition, and applied for a job. It was frankly 
a charity job, but Kitty was never to know that 
because she fell into the newspaper game naturally; 
and when they discovered her wide acquaintance 
among theatrical celebrities they switched her into 
the dramatic department, where she had astonishing 
success as a raconteur. She was now assistant dra- 
matic editor of the Sunday issue, and her pay enve- 
lope had four crisp ten-dollar notes hi it each Monday. 

She still remained in the old apartment; sentiment 
as much as anything. She had been born in it and 
her happiest days had been spent there. She lived 
alone, without help, being one of that singular type 
of womanhood that is impervious to the rust of lone- 
liness. Her daily activities sufficed the gregarious 
instincts, and it was often a relief to move about in 
silence 

Among other things Kitty had foresight. She 
had learned that a little money in the background 
was the most satisfying thing in existence. So 
many times she and her mother had just reached the 
insurance check, with grumbling bill collectors in 
the hall, that she was determined never to be poor. 
She had to fight constantly her love of finery inher- 



The Drums of Jeopardy 35 

ited from her mother, and her love of good times 
inherited from her father. So she established a bank 
account, and to date had not drawn a check against 
it; which speaks well for her will power, an attribute 
cultivated, not inherited. 

Kitty was as pleasing to the eye as a basket of 
fruit. Her beauty was animated. There was an 
expression in her eyes and on her lips that spoke of 
laughter always on tiptoe. An enviable inheritance, 
this, the desire to laugh, to be searching always for 
a vent to laughter; it is something money cannot 
buy, something not to be cultivated; a true gift of 
the gods. This desire to laugh is found invariably 
in the tender and valorous; and Kitty was both. 
Brown hair with running threads of gold that was 
always catching light; slate-blue eyes with heavy 
black fringe Irish; colour that waxed and waned; 
and a healthy, shapely body. Topped by a sparkling 
intellect these gifts made Kitty desirable of men. 

Kitty had no beau. After the adolescent days 
beaux ceased to interest her. This would indicate 
that she was inclined toward suffrage. Nothing of 
the kind. Intensely romantic, she determined to 
await the grand passion or go it alone. No experi- 
mental adventures for her. Be assured that she 
weighed every new man she met, and finding some 
flaw discarded him as a matrimonial possibility. 
Besides, her unusual facilities to view and judge 
men had shown her masculine phases the average wo- 



36 The Drums of Jeopardy 

man would have discovered only after the fatal knot 
was tied. She did not suspect that she was romanti- 
cal. She attributed her wariness to common sense. 

If there is one place where a pretty young woman 
may labour without having to build a wall of liquid 
air about her to fend off amatory advances that 
place is the editorial room of a great metropolitan 
daily. One must have leisure to fall in love; and 
only the office boys could assemble enough idle time 
to call it leisure. 

Her desk faced Burlingame's; and Burlingame was 
the dramatic editor, a scholar and a gentleman. He 
liked to hear Kitty talk, and often he lured her into 
the open; and he gathered information about theatri- 
cal folks that was outside even his wide range of 
knowledge. 

A drizzly fog had hung over New York since morn- 
ing. Kitty was finishing up some Sunday special. 
Burlingame was reading proofs. All day theatrical 
folks had been in and out of this little ten-by-twelve 
cubby-hole; and now there would be quiet. 

But no. The door opened and an iron-gray head 
intruded. 

"Will I be in the way?" 

"Lord, no!" cried Burlingame, throwing down his 
proofs. " Come along in, Cutty." 

The great war correspondent came in and sat 
down, sighing gratefully. 



37 

Cutty was a nickname; he carried and smoked 
everywhere they would permit him the worst- 
looking and the worst-smelling pipe in Christendom. 
You may not realize it, but a nickname is a round- 
about Anglo-Saxon way of telling a fellow you love 
him. He was Cutty, but only among his dear inti- 
mates, mind you; to the world at large, to presidents, 
kings, ambassadors, generals, and capitalists he is 
known by another name. You will find it on the 
roster of the Royal Geographical; on the title page of 
several unique books on travel, jewels, and drums; 
in magazines and newspapers; on the membership 
roll of the Savage in London and the Lambs in New 
York. But you will not find it hi this story; decause 
it would not be fair to set his name against the un- 
usual adventures that crossed his line of life with 
that of the young man who wore the tobacco pouch 
suspended from his neck. 

Tall, bony, graceful enough except in a chair, 
where his angles became conspicuous; the ruddy, 
weather-bitten complexion of a deep-sea sailor, and a 
sailorman's blue eye; the brow of a thinker and the 
mouth of a humourist. Men often call another 
man handsome when a woman knows they mean 
manly. Among men Cutty was handsome. 

Kitty considerately rose and gathered up her manu- 
script. 

" No, no, Kitty ! I'd rather talk to you than Burly, 
here. You're always reminding me of that father of 



38 The Drums of Jeopardy 

yours. Best comrade I ever had. You laugh just 
like him. Did your mother ever tell you that old 
Cutty is your godfather?" 

"Good gracious!" 

"Fact. I told your dad I'd watch over you." 

"And a fat lot of watching you've done to date," 
jeered Burlingame. 

"Couldn't help that. But I can be on the job 
until I return to the Balkans." 

Kitty laughed joyously and sat down, perhaps 
a little thrilled. She had always admired Cutty 
from afar, shyly. Once in a blue moon he had 
in the old days appeared for tea; and he and Mrs. 
Conover would spend the balance of the after- 
noon discussing the lovable qualities of Tommy 
Conover. Kitty had seen him but twice" during the 
war. 

"Every so often," began Cutty, "I have to find 
listeners. Fact. I used to hate crowds, listeners; 
but those ten days in an open boat, a thousand miles 
from anywhere, made me gregarious. I'm always 
wanting company and hating to go to bed, which is 
bad business for a man of fifty-two." Cutty's ship 
had been torpedoed. 

To Kitty, with his tired eyes and weather-bitten 
face, his bony, gangling body, he had the appearance 
of a lazy man. Actually she knew him to be a man 
of tremendous vitality and endurance. Eagles 
when they roost are heavy-lidded and clumsy. She 



The Drums of Jeopardy 39 

wondered if there was a corner on the globe he had 
not peered into. 

For thirty years he had been following two gods 
Rumour and War. For thirty years he had been the 
slave of cables and telegrams. Even now he was 
preparing to return to the Balkans, where the great 
fire had started and where there were still some 
threatening embers to watch. 

Cutty was not well known in America; his reputa- 
tion was European. He played the game because he 
loved it, being comfortably fortified with worldly 
goods. He was a linguist of rare attainments, 
specializing in the polyglot of southeastern Europe. 
He came and went like cloud shadow. His foresight 
was so keen he was seldom ordered to go here or there; 
he was generally on the spot when the orders arrived. 

He was interested in socialism and its bewildering 
ramifications, but only as an analytical student. 
He could fit himself into any environment, interview 
a prime minister in the afternoon and take potluck 
that night with the anarchist who was planning to 
blow up the prime minister. 

Burlingame, an intimate, often exposed for Kitty's 
delectation the amazing and colourful facets of 
Cutty's diamond-brilliant mind. Cutty wrote au- 
thoritatively on famous gems and collected drums. 
He had one of the finest collections of chrysoprase 
in the world. He loved these semi-precious stones 
because of their unmatchable, translucent green 



40 The Drums of Jeopardy 

like the pulp of a grape. From Burlingame Kitty 
had learned that Cutty, rather indifferent to women, 
carried about with him the photographs large size 
of famous professional beauties and a case filled 
with polished chrysoprase. He would lay a photo- 
graph on a table and adorn the lovely throat with 
astonishing necklaces and the head with wonderful 
tiaras, all the while his brain at work with some 
intricate political puzzle. 

And he collected drums. The walls of his apart- 
ment part of the loft of a midtown office building- 
were covered with a most startling assortment of 
drums: drums of war, of the dance, of the temple* 
of the feast, ancient and modern, some of them 
dreadful looking objects, as Kitty had cause to re- 
member. 

Though Cutty had known her father and mother 
intimately, Kitty was a comparative stranger. He 
recollected seeing her perhaps a dozen times. She 
had been a shy child, not given to climbing over visi- 
tors' knees; not the precocious offspring of the aver- 
age theatrical mother. So in the past he had some- 
what overlooked her. Then one day recently he 
had dropped in to see Burlingame and had seen 
Kitty instead; which accounts for his presence here 
this day. Neither Kitty nor Burlingame suspected 
the true attraction. The dramatic editor accepted 
the advent as a peculiar compliment to himself. 
And it is to be doubted if Cutty himself realized 



The Drums of Jeopardy 41 

that there was a true magnetic pole in this cubby- 
hole of a room. 

Kitty, however, had vivid recollections. Actually 
the first strange man she had ever met. But not 
having been visible on her horizon, except in flashes, 
she knew of the man only what she had read and 
what Hurlingame had casually offered during dis- 
cussions. 

"Well, anyhow," said Burlingame, complacently, 
"the war is over." 

Cutty smiled indulgently. "That's the trouble 
with us chaps who tramp round the world for news. 
We can't bamboozle ourselves like you folks who 
stay at home. The war was only the first phase. 
There's a mess over there; wanting something and not 
knowing exactly what, those millions; milling cattle, 
with neither shed nor pasture. The Lord only 
knows how long it will take to clarify. Would you 
mind if I smoked?" 

"Wow!" cried Burlingame. 

"Not at all," answered Kitty. "I don't see 
how any pipe could be worse than Mr. Burlingame's.'' 

"I apologize," said the dramatic editor, humbly. 

"You needn't," replied the girl. She turned to 
the war correspondent. * * Any new drums ? ' ' 

"I remember that day. You were scared half to 
death at my walls." 

"Small wonder! I was only twelve; and I 
dreamed of cannibals for weeks." 



"Drums! I wonder if any living man has heard a 
greater variety than I? What a lot of them! I have 
heard them calling a jehad hi the Sudan. Tumpi- 
twm-tump! tumpitum-famp / Makes a white man's 
hair stand up when he hears it in the night. I don't 
know what it is, but the sound drives the Oriental 
mad. And that reminds me I've had them in 
mind all day the drums of jeopardy!" 

"WTiat an odd phrase! And what are the drums 
of jeopardy?" asked Kitty, leaning on her arms. 
Odd, but suddenly she felt a longing to go somewhere, 
thousands and thousands of miles away. She had 
never been west of Chicago or east of Boston. Until 
this moment she had never felt the call of the blood 
her father's. Cocoanut palms and birds of paradise! 
And drums in the night going tumpitum-famp/ tumpi- 
tum-tump! 

"I've always been mad over green things," began 
Cutty. "A wheat field in the spring, leafing maples. 
It's Nature's choice and mine. My passion is em- 
eralds; and I haven't any because those I want are 
beyond reach. They are owned by the great houses 
of Europe and Asia, and lie in royal caskets; or did. 
If I could go into a mine and find an emerald as big 
as my fist I should be only partly happy if it chanced 
to be of fine colour. In a little while I should lose in- 
terest in it. It wouldn't be alive, if you can get what 
I mean. Just as a man would rather have a homely 
woman to talk to than a beautiful window dummy to 



The Drums of Jeopardy 43 

admire. A stone to interest me must have a story 
a story of murder and loot, of beautiful women, pal- 
aces." 

"Br-r-r!" cried Burlingame. 

"Why, I've seen emeralds I would steal with half a 
chance. I couldn't help it. Fact," declared Cutty, 
earnestly. "Think of the loot in the Romanoff pal- 
aces! What's become of all those magnificent 
stones? In a little while they'll be turning up in 
Amsterdam to be cut some of them. Or maybe 
Mister Bolsheviki's inamorata will be stringing them 
round her neck. Loot." 

"But the drums of jeopardy!" said Kitty. 

"Emeralds, green as an English lawn in May after 
a shower, Kitty. By the way, do you mind if I 
call you Kitty? I used to." 

"And I've always thought of you as Cutty. 
Fifty-fifty." 

"It's a bargain. Well, the drums to my thinking 
are the finest two examples of the green beryl in the 
world. Polished, of course, as emeralds always 
should be. I should say that they were about the 
size of those peppermint chocolate drops there." 

"Have one?" said Kitty. 

"No. Spoil the taste of the pipe." 

"You ought to spoil that taste once in a while," 
was Burlingame's observation. "But go on " 

"I suppose originally there was a single stone, 
later cut into halves, because they are perfect 



44 The Drums of Jeopardy 

matches. The drums proper are exquisitely carved 
ivory statuettes, of Hindu or Mohammedan drum- 
mers, squatting, the golden base of the drums be- 
tween the knees, and the drumheads the emeralds. 
Lord, how they got to me ! I wanted to run off with 
them. The history of murder and loot they could 
tell! Some Delhi mogul owned them first. Then 
Nadir Shah carried them off to Persia, along with the 
famous peacock throne. I saw them in a palace on 
the Caspian in 1912. Russia was very strong in 
Persia at one time. Perhaps they were gifts; per- 
haps they were stolen these emeralds. Anyhow, 
I'd never heard of them until that year. And I 
travelled all the way up from Constantinople to get a 
glimpse of them if it were possible. I had to do 
some mighty fine wire-pulling. For one of those 
stones I would give half of all I own. To see them 
in the possession of another man would be a supreme 
test to my honesty." 

"You old pirate!" said Burlingarne. 

"But why the word jeopardy?" persisted Kitty, 
who was intrigued by the phrase. 

"Probably some Hindu trick. It is a language of 
flowery metaphors. It means, I suppose, that when 
you touch the drums they bite. In journeying from 
one spot to another they always leave misfortune 
behind, as I understand it. Just coincidence; 
but you couldn't drive that into an Oriental skull. 
This is what makes the study of precious stones so 



The Drums of Jeopardy 45 

interesting. There is always some enchantment, 
some evil spell. To handle the drums is to invite a 
minor accident. Call it twaddle; probably is; and 
yet I have reason to believe that there's something 
to the superstition." 

Burlingame sniffed. 

"I can prove it," Cutty declared. "I held those 
drums in my hands one day. I carried them to a 
window the better to observe them. On my return 
to the hotel I was knocked down by a horse and laid 
up in bed for a week. That same night someone 
tried to kill the man who showed me the emeralds. 
Coincidence? Perhaps. But these days I'm shying 
at thirteen, the wrong side of the street, ladders, and 
religious curses." 

"An old hard-boiled egg like you?" Burlingame 
threw up his hands in mock despair. 

"I laugh, too; but I duck, nevertheless. The chap 
who showed me the stones was what you'd call the 
honorary custodian; a privileged character because 
of his genius. Before approaching him I sent him a 
copy of my monograph on green stones. I found 
that he was quite as crazy over green as I. That 
brought us together; and while I drew him out I kept 
wondering where I had seen him before. Both his 
name and his face were vaguely familiar. It seems a 
superstition had come along with the stones, from 
India to Persia, from there to Russia. A maid for- 
tunate enough to see the drums would marry and 



46 The Drums of Jeopardy 

be happy. The old fellow confessed that occasion- 
ally he secretly admitted a peasant maid to gaze 
upon the stones. But he never let the male inmates 
of the palace find this out. He knew them a little 
too intimately. A bad lot." 

"And this palace? " asked Kitty. 

"Not one stone on another. The proletariat 
rose up and destroyed it. To mobs anything beau- 
tiful is offensive. Palaces looted, banks, museums, 
houses. The ignorant toying with hand grenades, 
thinking them sceptres. All the scum in the world 
boiling to the top. After the Red Day comes the 
Red Night." 

"Whatever will become of them the little kings 
and princes and dukes?" After all, thought Kitty, 
they were human beings; they would not suffer any 
the less because they had been born to the purple. 

"Maybe they'll go to work," said Cutty, dryly. 
"Sooner or later, all parasites will have to work if 
they want bread. And yet I've met some men 
among them, big in the heart and the mind, who 
would have made bully farmers and professors. 
The beautiful thing about the Anglo-Saxon education 
is that the whole structure is based upon fair play. 
In eastern and southeastern Europe few of them 
can play solitaire without cheating. But I would 
give a good deal to know what has happened to those 
emeralds the drums of jeopardy. They'll probably 
be broken up and sold in carat weights. The whole 



The Drums of Jeopardy 47 

family was wiped out in a night. ... I say, wfll 
you take lunch with me to-morrow? " 

"Gladly." 

"All right. I'll drop in here at half after twelve. 
Here's my telephone number, should anything alter 
your plan's. If I'm going to be godfather I might as 
well start right in." 

" The drums of jeopardy ; what a haunting phrase !" 

"Haunting stones, too, Kitty. For picking them 
up in my hands I went to bed with a banged-up 
leg. I can't forget that. We Occidentals laugh at 
Orientals and their superstitions. We don't believe 
in the curse. And yet, by George, those emeralds 
were accursed!" 

"Piffle!" snorted Burlingame. "Mush! It's 
greed, pure and simple, that gives precious stones 
their sinister histories. You'd have been hit by 
that horse if you had picked up nothing more valu- 
able than a rhinestone buckle. Take away the gold 
lure, and precious stones wouldn't sell at the price 
of window glass." 

"Is that so? How about me? It isn't because a 
stone is worth so much that makes me want it. I 
want it for the sheer beauty; I want it for the tre- 
mendous panorama the sight of it unfolds in my mind. 
I imagine what happened from the hour the stone 
was mined to the hour it came into my possession. 
To me to all genuine collectors the intrinsic 
value is nil. Can't you see? It is for me what Bal- 



48 The Drums of Jeopardy 

zae's La Peau de Chagrin would be to you if you 
had fallen on it for the first time money, love, trag- 
edy, death." 

An interruption came in the form of one of the 
office boys. The chief was on the wire and wanted 
Cutty at once. 

"At half after twelve, Kitty. And by the way," 
added Cutty as he rose, "they say about the drums 
that a beautiful woman is immune to their danger." 

"There's your chance, Kitty," said Burlingame. 

"Am I beautiful?" asked Kitty, demurely. 

" Lord love the minx ! " shouted Cutty. "A corner 
in Mouquin's." 

"Rain or shine." After Cutty had departed 
Kitty said: "He's the most fascinating man I know. 
What fun it would be to jog round the world with a 
man like that, who knew everybody and everything. 
As a little girl I was violently in love with him; 
but don't you ever dare give me away." 

"You'll probably have nightmare to-night. And 
honestly you ought not to live in that den alone. 
But Cutty has seen things," Burlingame admitted; 
"things no white man ought to see. He's been shot 
up, mauled by animals, marooned, torpedoed at sea, 
made prisoner by old Fuzzy -Wuzzy. An ordinary 
man would have died of fatigue. Cutty is as tough 
and strong as a gorilla and as active as a cat. But 
this jewel superstition is all rot. Odd, though; he'll 
travel halfway round the world to see a ruby or an 



The Drums of Jeopardy 49 

emerald. He says no true collector cares a cent for 
a diamond. Says they are vulgar." 

"Except on the third finger of a lady's left hand; 
and then they are just perfectly splendid! " 

"Oho! Well, when you get yours I hope it's as 
big as the Koh-i-noor." 

"Thank you! You might just as well wish a brick 
on me!" 

Kitty left the office at a quarter of six. The phrase 
kept running through her head the drums of 
jeopardy. A little shiver ran up her spine. Money, 
love, tragedy, death! This terrible and wonderful 
old world, of which she had seen little else than city 
streets, suddenly exhibited wide vistas. She knew 
now why she had begun to save travel. Just as 
soon as she had a thousand she would go somewhere. 
A great longing to hear native drums in the night. 

Even as the wish entered her mind a new sound 
entered her ears. The Subway car wheels began to 
beat tumpitum-famp / tumpitum-tump I 

Fudge! She opened her evening paper and 
scanned the fashions, the dramatic news, and the 
comics. Being a woman she read the world news 
last. On the front page she saw a queer story, dated 
at Albany: Mysterious guests at a hotel; how they 
had fought and fled in the early morning. There 
had been left behind a case with foreign orders in- 
crusted with several thousand dollars' worth of gems. 
Bolsheviki, said the police; just as they said auto 



50 The Drums of Jeopardy 

bandits a few years ago when confronted with some- 
thing they could not understand. The orders had 
been turned over to the Federal authorities from 
whom it was learned that they were all royal and 
demi-royal. Neither of the two guests had returned 
up to noon, and one had fled, leaving even his hat 
and coat. But there was nothing to indicate his 
identity. 

"Loot!" murmured Kitty. "All the scum in the 
world rising to the top" quoting Cutty. "Poor 
things!" as she thought of the gentle ladies who had 
died horribly in bedrooms and cellars. 

Kitty was beginning to cast about for more con- 
genial quarters. There were too many foreigners 
in the apartments, and none of them especially good 
housekeepers. Always, nowadays, somebody had a 
washing out on the line, the odour of garlic was con- 
tinuously in the air, and there were noisy children 
under foot in the halls. The families she and her 
mother had known were all gone; and Kitty was per- 
haps the oldest inhabitant in the block. 

The living-room windows faced Eightieth Street; 
bedrooms, dining room, and kitchen looked out upon 
the court. From the latter windows one could step 
out upon the fire-escape platform, which ran round 
the three sides of the court. 

Among the present tenants she knew but one, 
an old man by the name of Gregory, who lived oppo- 
site. The acquaintance had never ripened into 



The Drums of Jeopardy 51 

friendship; but sometimes Kitty would borrow an 
egg and he would borrow some sugar. In the sum- 
mertime, when the windows were open at night, she 
had frequently heard the music of a violin swimming 
across the court. Polish, Russian, and Hungarian 
music, always speaking with a tragic note; nothing 
she had- ever heard in concerts. Once, however, 
she had heard him begin something from Thais, 
and stop in the middle of it; and that convinced her 
that he was a master. She was fond of good music. 
One day she asked Gregory why he did not teach 
music instead of valeting at a hotel. His answer 
had been illuminative. It was only his body that 
pressed clothes; but it would have torn his soul to 
listen daily to the agonized bow of the novice. 

Kitty was lonely through pride as much as any- 
thing. As for friends, she had a regiment of them. 
But she rarely accepted their hospitality, realizing 
that she could not return it. No young men called 
because she never invited them. All this, however, 
was going to change when she moved. 

As she turned on the hall light she saw an en- 
velope on the floor. Evidently it had been shoved 
under the door. It was unstamped. She opened it, 
and stepped out of the humdrum into the whirligig. 

DEAR Miss CONOVER: 

If anything should happen to me all the things in my apart* 
ment I give to you without reservation. 

STEPHEN GREGORY. 



52 The Drums of Jeopardy 

She read the letter a dozen times to make sure that 
it meant exactly what it said. He might be ill. 
After she had cooked her supper she would run round 
and inquire. The poor lonely old man ! 

She went into the kitchen and took inventory. 
There was nothing but bacon and eggs and coffee. 
She had forgotten to order that morning. She lit 
the gas range and began to prepare the meal. As 
she broke an egg against the rim of the pan the near- 
by Elevated tram rushed by, drumming tumpitum- 
tumpl tumpitum-fwmp/ She laughed, but it wasn't 
honest laughter. She laughed because she was con- 
scious that she was afraid of something. Impulse 
drove her to the window. Contact with men her 
unusual experiences as a reporter had developed 
her natural fearlessness to a point where it was ag- 
gressive. As she pressed the tip of her nose against 
the pane, however, she found herself gazing squarely 
into a pair of exceedingly brilliant dark eyes; and all 
the blood in her body seemed to rush violently into 
her throat. 

Tableau! 



CHAPTER V 

KITTY gasped, but she did not cry out. The 
five days' growth of blondish stubble, the 
discoloured eye for all the orb itself was 
brilliant and the hawky nose combined to send 
through her the first great thrill of danger she had 
ever known. 

Slowly she backed away from the window. The 
man outside immediately extended his hands with a, 
gesture that a child would have understood. Sup- 
plication. Kitty paused, naturally. But did the 
man mean it? Might it not be some trick to lure her 
into opening the window? And what was he doing 
outside there anyhow? Her mind, freed from the 
initial hypnosis of the encounter, began to work 
quickly. If she ran from the kitchen to call for help 
he might be gone when she returned, only to coim 
back when she was again alone. 

Once more the man executed that gesture, his 
palms upward. It was Latin; she was aware of that, 
for she was always encountering it in the halls. An- 
other gesture. She understood this also. The tips 
of the fingers bunched and dabbed at the lips. She 
had seen Italian children make the gesture and cry: 
"Ho fame!" Hungry. But she could not let him 

53 



54 The Drums of Jeopardy 

into the kitchen. Still, if he were honestly hungry 
She had it! 

In the kitchen-table drawer was an imitation re- 
volver press the trigger, and a fluted fan was re- 
vealed a dance favour she had received during the 
winter. 

She plucked it out of the drawer and walked 
bravely to the window, which she threw up. 

"What do you want? What are you doing out 
there on the fire escape?'* she instantly demanded 
to know. 

"My word, I am hungry! I was looking out of 
the window across the way and saw you preparing 
your dinner. A bit of bread and a glass of milk. 
Would you mind, I wonder?" 

"Why didn't you come to the door then? What 
window?" Kitty was resolute ; once she embarked 
upon an enterprise. 

"That one." 

"Where is Mr. Gregory?" Kitty recalled that odd 
letter. 

"Gregory? I should very much like to know. 
I have come many miles to see him. He sent me a 
duplicate key. There was not even a crust in the 
cupboard." 

Gregory away? That letter! Something had 
happened to that poor, kindly old man. "Why did 
you not seek some restaurant? Or have you no 
money?" 



The Drums of Jeopardy 55 

"I have plenty. I was afraid that I might not be 
able conveniently to return. I am a stranger. My 
actions might be viewed with suspicion." 

"Indeed! Describe Mr. Gregory." 

Not of the clinging kind, evidently, he thought. 
A raving beauty Diana domesticated! 

"It is four years since I saw him. He was then 
gray, dapper, and erect. A mole on his chin, which 
he rubs when he talks. He is a valet in one of the 
fashionable hotels. He is or was the only true 
friend I have in New York." 

* * Was ? What do you mean ? ' ' 

"I'm afraid something has happened to him. I 
found his bedroom things tossed about." 

"What could possibly happen to a harmless old 
man like Mr. Gregory?" 

"Pardon me, but your egg is burning!" 

Kitty wheeled and lifted off the pan, choking in 
the smother of smoke. She came right-about face 
swiftly enough. The man had not moved; and 
that decided her. 

"Come in. I will give you something to eat. 
Sit in that chair by the window, and be careful 
not to stir from it. I'm a good shot," lied Kitty, 
truculently. "Frankly, I do not like the looks of 
this." 

"I do look like a burglar, what?" He sat down in 
the chair meekly. Food and a human being to talk 
to] A lovely, self-reliant American girl, able to takd 



56 The Drums of Jeopardy 

care of herself. Magnificent eyes slate blue, with 
thick, velvety black lashes. Irish. 

In a moment Kitty had three eggs and half a dozen 
strips of bacon frying in a fresh pan. She kept one 
eye upon the pan and the other upon the intruder, 
risking strabismus. At length she transferred the 
contents of the pan to a plate, backed to the ice chest, 
and reached for a bottle of milk. She placed the 
food at the far end of the table and retreated a few 
steps, her arms crossed in such a way as to keep the 
revolver in view. 

"Please do not be afraid of me." 

"What makes you think I am?" 

"Any woman would be." 

Kitty saw that he was actually hungry, and her 
suspicions began to ebb. He hadn't lied about 
that. And he ate like a gentleman. Young, not 
more than thirty; possibly less. But that dreadful 
stubble and that black eye! The clothes would have 
passed muster on any fashionable golf links. A fugi- 
tive? From what? 

"Thank you," he said, setting down the empty 
milk bottle. 

"Your accent is English." 

"Which is to say?" 

"That your gestures are Italian." 

"My mother was Italian. But what makes you 
believe I am not English?" 

"An Englishman or an American, for that mat* 



The Drums of Jeopardy 57 

ter with money in his pocket would have gone into 
the street in search of a restaurant." 

"You are right. The fundamentals of the blood 
will always crop out. You can educate the brain 
but not the blood. I am not an Englishman; I 
merely received my education at Oxford." 

"A fugitive, however, of any blood might have 
come to my window." 

"Yes; I am a fugitive, pursued by the god of 
Irony. And Irony is never particular; the chase is 
the thing. What matters it whether the quarry 
be wolf or sheep?'* 

Kitty was impressed by the bitterness of the tone. 
"What is your name?" 

"John Hawksley." 

"But that is English!" 

"I should not care to call myself Two-Hawks, lit- 
erally. It would be embarrassing. So I call myself 
Hawksley." 

A pause. Kitty wondered what new impetus she 
might give to the conversation, which was interesting 
her despite her distrust. 

"How did you come by that black eye?" she asked 
with embarrassing directness. 

Hawksley smiled, revealing beautifully white 
teeth. "I say, it is a bit off, isn't it! I received it" 
a twinkle coming into his eyes "in a situation 
that had moribund perspectives.' 5 

"Moribund perspectives," repeated Kitty, casting 



58 The Drums of Jeopardy 

the phrase about in her mind in search of an equiva- 
lent less academic. 

"I am young and healthy, and I wanted to live," 
he said, gravely. "I am curious to know what is 
going to happen to-morrow and other to-morrows." 

Somewhere near by a door was slammed violently. 
Kitty, every muscle in her body tense, jumped con- 
vulsively, with the result that her finger pressed auto- 
matically the trigger of her pistol. The fan popped 
out gayly. 

Hawksley stared at the fan, quite as astonished as 
Kitty. Then he broke into low, rollicking laughter, 
which Kitty, because her basic corpuscle was Irish, 
perforce had to join. For all her laughter she re- 
treated, furious and alarmed. 

"Fancy! I say, now, you're jolly plucky to face a 
scoundrel like me with that." 

"I don't just know what to make of you," said 
Kitty, irresolutely, flinging the fan into a corner. 

"You have revivified a celestial spark my faith 
in human beings. I beg of you not to be afraid of me. 
I am quite harmless. I am very grateful for the 
meal. Yours is the one act of kindness I have known 
in weeks. I will return to Gregor's apartment at 
once. But before I go please accept this. I rather 
suspect, you know, that you live alone, and that fan 
is amusing and not particularly suitable." 

He rose and unsmilingly laid upon the table one 
of. those heavy blue-black bull-dogs of war, a regula- 



59 

tion revolver. Kitty understood what this courteous 
act signified; he was disarming himself to reassure Jher. 

"Sit down," she ordered. Either he was harmless 
or he wasn't. If he wasn't she was utterly at his 
mercy. She might be able to lift that terrible- 
looking engine of murder, battle, and sudden death 
with the aid of both hands, but to aim and fire it 
never in this world! "As I came in to-night I found 
a note in the hall from Mr. Gregory. I will fetch it. 
But you call him Gregor? " 

"His name is Stefani Gregor; and years and years 
ago he dandled me on his knees. I promise not to 
move until you return." 

Subdued by she knew not what, no longer afraid, 
Kitty moved out of the kitchen. She had offered 
Gregory's letter as an excuse to reach the telephone. 
Once there, however, she did not take the receiver 
off the hook. Instead she whistled down the tube 
for the janitor. 

"This is Miss Conover. Come up to my apart- 
ment in ten minutes. . . . No; it's not the water 
pipes. ... In ten minutes " 

Nothing very serious could happen inside of ten 
minutes; and the janitor was reliable and not the 
sort one reads about in the comic weeklies. Her 
confidence reenforced by the knowledge that a friend 
was near, she took the letter into the kitchen. Ap- 
parently her unwelcome guest had not stirred. The 
revolver was where he had laid it. 



60 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Read this," she said. 

The visitor glanced through it. "It is Gregor'tf 
hand. Poor old chap! I shall never forgive my- 
self." 

"For what?" 

"For dragging him into this. They must have 
intercepted one of my telegrams." He stared de- 
jectedly at the strip of oilcloth in front of the range. 
"You are an American?" 

"Yes." 

"God has been exceedingly kind to your country. 
I doubt if you will ever know how kind. I'll take 
myself off. No sense in compromising you." He 
laid a folded handkerchief inside his cap which he put 
on. "Know anything about this?" indicating the 
revolver. 

"Nothing whatever." 

"Permit me to show you. It is loaded; there are 
five bullets in the clip. See this little latch? So, it 
is harmless. So, and you kill with it." 

"It is horrible!" cried Kitty. "Take it with 
you please. I could not keep my eyes open to 
shoot it." 

"These are troublous times. All women should 
know something about small arms. Again I thank 
you. For your own sake I trust that we may never 
meet again. Good-bye." He stepped out of the 
window and vanished. 

Kitty, at a mental impasse, could only stare into 



The Drums of Jeopardy 61 

the night beyond the window. This mesmeric state 
endured for a minute; then a gentle and continuous 
sound dissipated the spell. It was raining. Ob- 
liquely she saw the burnt egg in the pan. The thing 
had happened; she had not been dreaming. 

Her brain awoke. Thought crowded thought; 
before one* matured another displaced it; and all as 
futile as the sparks from the anvil. An avalanche 
of conjecture; and out of it all eventually emerged 
one concrete fact. The man was honest. His 
hunger had been honest; his laughter. Who was he, 
what was he? For all his speech, not English; for 
all his gestures, not Italian. Moribund perspectives. 
Somewhere that day he had fought for his life. John 
Two-Hawks. 

And there was the mysterious evanishment of 
old Gregory, whose name was Stefani Gregor. In a 
humdrum, prosaic old apartment like this! 

Kitty had ideas about adventure an inheritance, 
though she was not aware of that. There had to be 
certain ingredients, principally mystery. Anything 
sordid must not be permitted to edge in. She had 
often gone forth upon semi-perilous enterprises as a 
reporter, entered sinister houses where crimes had 
been committed, but always calculating how much 
copy at eight dollars a column could be squeezed out 
of the affair. But this promised to be something 
like those tales which were always clear and wonder- 
ful in her head but more or less opaque when she 



62 The Drums of Jeopardy 

attempted to transfer them to paper. A secret 
society? Vengeance? An echo of the war? 

"Johnny Two-Hawks," she murmured aloud. 
"And he hopes we'll never meet again!" 

There was a mirror over the sink, and she threw a 
glance into it. Very well; if he thought like that 
about it. 

Here the doorbell tinkled. That would be the 
faithful janitor. She ran to the door. 

"Whadjuh wanta see me about, Miz Conover?" 

"What has happened to old Mr. Gregory?" 

"Him? Why, some amb'lance fellers carted him 
off this afternoon. Didn't know nawthin' was the 
matter with 'im until I runs into them in the hall." 

"He'd been hurt?" 

"Couldn't say, miz. He was on a stretcher when 
I seen 'im. Under a sheet." 

"But he might have been dead!" 

"Nope. I ast 'em, an' they said a shock of some 
sort." 

"What hospital?'* 

"Gee, I forgot fast that!" 

"I'll find out. Good-night." 

But Kitty did not find out. She called up all the 
known private and public hospitals, but no Gregor 
or Gregory had been received that afternoon, nor 
anybody answering his description. The fog had 
swallowed up Stefani Gregor. 



CHAPTER VI 

f "HHE reportorial instinct in Kitty Conover, 
combined with her natural feminine curi- 

_M. osity, impelled her to seek to the bottom of 
this affair. Her newspaper was as far from her 
thoughts as the poles; simply a paramount desire 
to translate the incomprehensible into sequence and 
consequence. Harmless old Gregor's disappearance 
and the advent of John Two-Hawks the absurdity 
of that name! with his impeccable English accent, 
his Latin gestures, and his black eye, convinced her 
that it was political; an electrical cross current out 
of that broken world over there. Moribund per- 
spectives. What did that signify save that Johnny 
Two-Hawks had fought somewhere that day for his 
life? Had Gregor been spirited away so as to leave 
Two-Hawks without support, to confuse and dis- 
courage him and break down his powers of resist- 
ance? Or had there been something of great value 
in the Gregor apartment, and Johnny Two-Hawks 
had come too late to save his friend? 

A word slipped into her mind like a whiff of mi- 
asma off an evil swamp. As she recognized the word 
she felt the same horror and repugnance one senses 



64 The Drums of Jeopardy 

upon being unexpectedly confronted by a cobra. 
Internationalism. The scum of the world boiling 
to the top. A half -blind viper striking venomously 
at everything even itself! A destroyer who tore 
down but who knew not how or what to build. 
Kitty knew that lower New York was seething with 
this species of terrorism thousands of noisome 
European rats trying to burrow into the granary of 
democracy. But she had no particular fear of the 
result. The reacting chemicals of American humour 
and common sense would neutralize that virus. Sup- 
posing a ripple from this indecent eddy had touched her 
feet? The torch of liberty in the hands of Anarch! 
Johnny Two-Hawks. Somehow even if she never 
saw him again she knew she would always remem- 
ber him by that name. Phases of the encounter 
began to return. Fine hands; perhaps he painted 
or played. The oblong head of well-balanced men- 
tality. A pleasant voice. Breeding. To be sure, 
he had laughed at that fan popping out. Anybody 
would have laughed. Never had she felt so idiotic. 
He had gravely expressed the hope that they might 
never meet again because his life was in danger. 
What danger? Conceivably the enmity of a soci- 
ety internationalism. The word having found 
lodgment in her thoughts took root. International- 
ism Utopia while you wait! Anarchism and Bol- 
shevism offering nostrums for humanity's ills! And 
there were sane men who defended the cult on the 



The Drums of Jeopardy 65 

basis that the intention was honest. Who can say 
that the rattlesnake does not consider his intentions 
honourable? 

The attribute lacking in the ape to make him hu- 
man is continuity of thought and action in all things 
save one. He often starts out well but he never 
arrives. His interest is never sustained. He drops 
one thing and turns to another. The exception is 
his enmity, savage and cunning, relentless and en- 
during. 

Kitty was awake to one fact. She could not 
venture to dig into this affair alone. On the other 
hand, she did not want one of the men from the 
city room a reporter who would see nothing but 
news. If Gregor was only a prisoner publicity might 
be the cause of his death; and publicity would cer- 
tainly react hardily against Johnny Two-Hawks. 
To whom might she turn? 

Cutty! with his great physical strength, his 
shrewd and alert mentality, and his wide knowledge 
of peoples and tongues. There was the man for her 
Kitty Conover's godfather. She dumped the 
contents of her handbag upon the stand in the hall- 
way in her impatience to find Cutty's card with his 
telephone number. It was not in the directory. 
She might catch him before he went out for the 
evening. 

A Japanese voice answered her call. 

"'Scuse, but he iss out." 



66 The Drams of Jeopardy 

Where?" 

"No tell me." 

"How long has he been gone?" 

"'Scuse!" 

Kitty heard the click of the receiver as it went 
down upon the hook. But she wasn't the daughter 
of Conover for nothing. She called up the Univer- 
sity Club. No. The Harvard Club. No. The 
Players, the Lambs; and in the latter club she found 
him. 

"Who is it?" Cutty spoke impatiently. 

"Kitty Conover." 

"Oh! What's the matter? Can't you have 
lunch with me?" 

"Something very strange is happening in this 
old apartment house, Cutty. I'm afraid it is a mat- 
ter of life and death. Otherwise I shouldn't have 
bothered you. Can you come up right away?" 

"As soon as a taxi can take me!" 

"Thanks." 

Kitty then went through the apartment and turned 
out all the lights. Next she drew up a chair to the 
kitchen window and sat down to watch. All was 
dark across the way. But there was nothing singu- 
lar in this fact. Johnny Two-Hawks would have 
sense enough to realize that it would be safer to 
move about in the dark. It was even probable 
that he was lying down. 

Tumpitum-tump ! Tumpitum-tump ! went the 



The Drums of Jeopardy 67 

racing Elevated; and Kitty's heart raced along with 
it. Queer how the echo of Cutty's description of 
the drums calling a jehad a holy war should adapt 
itself to that Elevated. Drums! Perhaps the echo 
clung because she had been interested beyond meas- 
ure in his tale of those two emeralds, the drums of 
jeopardy. Mobs sacking palaces and museums 
and banks and homes; all the scum of the world boil- 
ing to the top; the Red Night that wasn't over. 

She uttered a shaky little laugh. She would tell 
Cutty. The real drums of jeopardy weren't emer- 
alds but the roll of warning that prescience taps upon 
the spine, the occult sense of impending danger. 
That was why the Elevated went tumpitum-fump/ 
tumpitum-tump! She would tell Cutty. The drums 
of fear. 

He over there and she here, in darkness; both of 
them waiting for something to happen; and the in- 
visible drumsticks beating the tattoo of fear. If he 
were in her thoughts might not she be a little in his? 
She stood up. She would do it. Convention in a 
moment like this was nonsense. Hadn't he kept 
his side of the line scrupulously? 

Nonchalance. It occurred to her for the first 
time that there must be good material in a man who 
could come through in a contest with death, non- 
chalant. She would fetch him and have him here 
to meet Cutty, this rather forlorn Johnny Two- 
Hawks, with his unshaven face, his black eye, and his 



68 The Drums of Jeopardy 

nonchalance. She would fetch him at once. It 
would save a good deal of time. 

There were but ten apartments in the building, 
two on a floor. The living room formed an L. 
Kitty's buttressed Gregor's. The elevator shaft 
was inside, facing the court; and the stair head was 
on the Gregor side of the elevator. The two en- 
trances faced each other across the landing. 

As Kitty opened her door to step outside she was 
nonplussed to see two men issue cautiously from the 
Gregor door. The moment they espied her, how- 
ever, there was a mad rush for the stair head. She 
could hear the thud of their feet all the way down to 
the ground floor; and every footfall seemed to touch 
her heart. One of them carried a bundle. 

She breathed quickly, and she knew that she 
was afraid. Neither man was Johnny Two-Hawks. 
Something dreadful had happened; she was sure 
of it. Reenforcing her sinking courage with nerve 
energy she ran across to the Gregor door and knocked. 
No answer. She knocked again; then she tried the 
door. Locked. The flutter in her breast died 
away; she became quite calm. She was going to 
enter this apartment by the way of the fire escape. 
The window he had come out of was still up. She 
had made note of this from the kitchen. In return- 
ing he had stepped on to the springe of a snare. 

She hurried back to her kitchen for the automatic. 
She hadn't the least idea how to manipulate it; but 



The Drums of Jeopardy 69 

she was no longer afraid of it. Bravely she stepped 
out on to the fire escape. To reach her objective 
she had to walk under the ladder. Danger often 
puts odd irrelevancies into the human brain. As she 
moved forward she wondered if there was anything 
in the superstition regarding ladders. 

When she reached the window she leaned against 
the brick wall and listened. ^Silence; an ominous 
silence. The window was open, the curtain up. 
Within, what? For as long as five minutes she 
waited, then she climbed in. 

Now as this bedroom was a counterpart of her own 
she knew where the light button would be. She 
might stumble over a chair or two, but in the end 
she would find the light. The fingers of one hand 
spread out before her and the other clutching the 
impossible automatic, she succeeded in navigating 
the uncharted reefs of an unfamiliar room. She 
blinked for a moment after throwing on the light, 
and stood with her back to the wall, the automatic 
wabbling at nothing in particular. The room was 
empty so far as she could see. There was evidence 
of a physical encounter, but she could not tell whether 
it was due to the former or to the latter invasion. 

Where was he? From where she stood she could 
not see the floor on the far side of the bed. Timidly 
she walked past the foot of the bed and the tran- 
sient paralysis of horror laid hold of her. She be- 
came bereft of the power to grasp and hold, and the 



70 The Drums of Jeopardy 

automatic slipped from her fingers and thudded on 
the carpet. 

On the floor lay poor Johnny Two-Hawks, crum- 
pled grotesquely, a streak of blood zigzagging across 
his forehead; to all appearances, dead! 



CHAPTER VII 

TWICE before in her life Kitty had looked upon 
death by violence; and it required only this 
present picture to convince her that she would 
never be able to gaze upon it callously, without pity 
and terror. Newspaper life at least the reportorial 
side of it has an odd effect upon men and women; 
it sharpens their tragical instincts and perceptions 
and dulls eternally the edge of tenderness and senti- 
mentality. It was natural for Kitty to possess the 
keenest perceptions of tragedy; but she had been 
taken out of the reportorial field in time to preserve 
all her tenderness and romanticism. Otherwise she 
would have seen in that crumpled object with the 
sinister daub of blood on the forehead merely a story, 
and would have approached it from that angle. 

But was he dead? She literally forced her steps 
toward the body and stared. She dropped to her 
knees because they were threatening to buckle hi 
one of those flashes of physical incoordination to 
which the strongest will must bow occasionally. 
She was no longer afraid of the tragedy, but she 
feared the great surging pity that was striving to 
express itself in sobs; and she knew that if she sur- 
rendered she would forthwith become hysterical 

71 



72 The Drums of Jeopardy 

for the rest of the evening and incompetent to carry 
out the plan in her head. 

A strong, healthy young man done to death in this 
fashion only a few minutes after he had left her 
kitchen! Somehow she could not look upon him 
as a stranger. She had given him food; she had 
talked to him; she had even laughed with him. He 
was not like those dead she had seen in her reportor- 
ial days. Her orbit and Johnny Two-Hawks' had 
indeterminately touched; she had known old Greg- 
ory, or Gregor, who had been this unfortunate young 
man's friend. And he had hoped they might never 
meet again! 

The murderous scoundrels had been watching. 
They must have entered the apartment shortly 
after he had entered hers. Conceivably they would 
have Gregor's key. And they had watched and 
waited, striking him down it may have been at the 
very moment he had crossed the sill of the window. 

Her hand shook so idiotically that it was impossi- 
ble for a time to tell if the man's heart was beating. 
All at once a wave of hot fury rushed over her fury 
at the cowardliness of the assault and the vertigo 
passed. She laid her palm firmly over Johnny Two- 
Hawks' heart. Alive! He was alive! She straight- 
ened his body and put a pillow under his head. 
Then she sought water and towels. 

There was no cut on his forehead, only blood; 
but the top of his head had been cruelly beaten. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 73 

He was alive, but without immediate aid he might 
die. The poor young man ! 

There were two physicians in the block; one or 
the other would be in. She ran to the door, to find 
it locked. She had forgotten. Next she found the 
telephone wire cut and the speaking tube battered 
and inutile. She would have to return to her own 
apartment to summon help. She dared not leave 
the light on. The scoundrels might possibly return, 
and the light would warn them that their victim had 
been discovered; and naturally they would wish 
to ascertain whether or not they had succeeded in 
their murderous assault 

As she was passing the first-landing windows she 
saw Cutty emerging from the elevator. She flew 
across the fire-escape platform with the resilient step 
of one crossing thin ice.- ' 

Probably the most astonished man in New York 
was the war correspondent when the door opened 
and a pair of arms were Sung about him, and a voice 
smothered in the lapel of his coat cried: "Oh, Cutty, 
I never was so glad to see any one! " 

"What in the nameof " 

"Come! We'll handle this ourselves. Hurry!" 
She dragged him along by the sleeve. 

"But- 

" It is life and death ! No talk now ! " 

Cutty, immaculate in his evening clothes, very 
much perturbed, went along after her. As she 



74 The Drums of Jeopardy 

passed through the kitchen window and beckoned 
him to follow he demurred. 

"Kitty, what the deuce is going on here?" 

"I'll answer your questions when we get him into 
my apartment. They tried to murder him; left 
him there to die!" 

Cutty possessed a great art, an art highly devel- 
oped only in explorers and newspaper reporters of 
the first order adaptability; of being able to cast 
aside .instantly the conventions of civilization and 
let down the bars to the primordial, the instinctive, 
and the natural. Thus the Cutty who stepped out 
beside Kitty into the drizzle was not the Cutty she 
had admitted into the apartment. She did not recog- 
nize this remarkable transition until later; and then 
she discovered that Cutty, the suave and lackadais- 
ical in idleness, was a tremendous animal hibernating 
behind a crackle shell. 

Ordinarily Cutty would have declined to come 
through this shell, thin as it was; he liked these cat- 
naps between great activities. But this lovely 
creature was Conover's daughter, and she would 
have the seventh sense divination of the born 
reporter. Something big was in the air. 

"Go on!" he said, briskly. "I'm at your heels. 
And stoop as you pass those hall windows. No use 
throwing a silhouette for somebody in those rear 
houses to see." . . . Old Tommy Conover's 
daughter, sure pop! . . . There you go, under 



The Drums of Jeopardy 75 

the ladder! You've dished the whole affair, what- 
ever it is. ... No, no! Just spoofing, 
Kitty. A long face is no good anywhere, even at a 
funeral. . . . This window? All right. Know 
where the lights are? Very good." 

When Cutty saw the man on the floor he knelt 
quickly. " "Nasty bang on the head, but he's alive. 
What's this? His cap. Poughkeepsie. By George, 
padded with his handkerchief! Must have known 
something was going to fall on him. Now, what's it 
all about?" 

"When we get him to my apartment." 
" Yours ? Good Lord, what's the matter with this ? " 
"They tried to kill him here. They might return 
to see if they had succeeded. They mustn't find 
where he has gone. I'm strong. I can take hold of 
his knees." 

"Tut! Neither of us could walk backward over 
that fire escape. He looks husky, but I'll try it. 
Now obey me without question or comment. You'll 
have to help me get him outside the window and in 
through yours. Between the two windows I can 
handle him alone. I only hope we shan't be noticed, 
for that might prove awkward. Now take hold. 
That's it. When I'm through the window just push 
his legs outside." Panting, Kitty obeyed. "All 
right," said Cutty. "I like your pluck. You run 
along ahead and be ready to help me in with him. 
A healthy beggar! Here goes." 



76 Tlie Drums of Jeopardy 

With a heave and a hunch and another heave 
Cutty stood up, the limp body disposed scientifically 
across his shoulders. Kitty was quite impressed by 
this exhibition of strength in a man whom she con- 
sidered as elderly old. There was an underthought 
that such feats of bodily prowess were reserved for 
young men. With the naive conceit of twenty- 
four she ignored the actual mathematics of fifty 
years of clean living and thinking, missed the physi- 
ological fact that often men at fifty are stronger and 
tougher than men in the twenties. They never 
waste energy; their precision of movement and delib- 
eration of thought conserve the residue against the 
supreme moment. 

As a parenthesis: To a young woman what is a 
hero? Generally something conjured out of a book 
she has read; the unknown, handsome young man 
across the street; the leading actor in a society drama; 
the idol of the movie. A hero must of necessity be 
handsome; that is the first essential. If he happens 
to be brave and debonair, rich and aristocratic, so 
much the better. Somehow, to be brave and to 
be heroic are not actually accepted synonyms in 
certain youthful feminine minds. For instance, 
every maid will agree that her father is brave; but 
tell her he is a hero because he pays his bills regularly 
and she will accept the statement with a smile of 
tolerant indulgence. 

Thus Kitty viewed Cutty's activities with a thrill 



The Drams of Jeopardy 77 

of amazed wonder. Had the young man hoisted 
Cutty to his shoulders her feeling would have been 
one of exultant admiration. Let age crown its 
garnered wisdom; youth has no objections to that; 
but feats of physical strength that is poaching upon 
youth's preserves. Kitty was not conscious of the 
instinctive resentment. At that moment Cutty was 
to her the most extraordinary old man in the world. 

" Forward ! " he whispered. " I want to know why 
I am doing this movie stunt." The journey began 
with Kitty in the lead. She prayed that no one 
would see them as they passed the two landing 
windows. Below and above were vivid squares of 
golden light. She regretted the drizzle; no clothes- 
laden lines intervened to obscure their progress. 
Someone in the rear of the houses in Seventy -ninth 
Street might observe the silhouettes. The whole 
affair must be carried off secretly or their efforts 
would come to nothing. 

Once inside the kitchen Cutty shifted his burden 
into his arms, the way one carries a child, and fol- 
lowed Kitty into the unused bedroom. He did not 
wait for the story, but asked for the telephone. 

"I'm going to call for a surgeon at the Lambs. 
He's just back from France and knows a lot about 
broken heads. And we can trust him absolutely. 
I told him to wait there until I called." 

** Cutty, you're a dear. I don't wonder father 
loved you." 



78 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Presently he turned away from the telephone. 
"He'll be here in a jiffy. Now, then, what the deuce 
is all this about?" 

Briefly Kitty narrated the episodes. 

"Samaritan stuff. I see. Any absorbent cotton? 
I can wash the wound after a fashion. Warm water 
and Castile soap. We can have him in shape for 
Harrison." 

Alone, Cutty took note of several apparent facts. 
The victim's flannel shirt was torn at the collar and 
there were marks of finger nails on the throat and 
chest. Upon close inspection he observed a thin 
red line round the neck the mark of a thong. Had 
they tried to strangle him or had he carried something 
of value? Silk underwear and a clean body; well 
born; foreign. After a conscientious hesitance Cutty 
went through the pockets. All he found were some 
crumbs of tobacco and a soggy match box. They 
had cleaned him out evidently. There were no 
tailors' labels in any of the pockets; but there were 
signs that these had once existed. The man on the 
bed had probably ripped them out himself; did not 
care to be identified. 

A criminal in flight? Cutty studied the face on 
the pillow. Shorn of that beard it would be hand- 
some; not the type criminal, certainly. A bit of 
natural cynicism edged into his thoughts: Kitty had 
seen through the beard, otherwise she would have 
turned the affair over to the police. Not at all like 



The Drums of Jeopardy 79 


her mother, yet equally her mother's match in beauty 

land intelligence. Conover's girl, whose eyes had 
'nearly popped out of her head at the first sight of 
those drum-lined walls of his. 

Two-Hawks. What was it that was trying to stir 
in his recollection? Two-Hawks. He was sure he 
had heard that name before. Hawksley meant 
nothing at all; but Two-Hawks possessed a strange 
attraction. He stared off into space. He might 
have heard the name in a tongue other than Eng* 
lish. 

A sound. It came from the lips of the young 
man. Cutty frowned. The poor chap wasn't 
breathing in a promising way; he groaned after each 
inhalation. And what had become of the old fellow 
Kitty called Gregory? A queer business. 

Kitty came in with a basin and a roll of absorbent 
cotton. 

"He is groaning!" she whispered. 

"Pretty rocky condition, I should say. That 
handkerchief in his cap doubtless saved him. Now, 
little lady, I frankly don't like the idea of his being 
here. Suppose he dies? In that event there'll be 
the very devil to pay. You're all alone here, with- 
out even a maid." 

"Am I all alone?" softly. _ 

"Well, no; come to think of it, I'm no longer your 
godfather in theory. Give me the cotton and hold 
the basin." 



80 The Drums of Jeopardy 

He was very tender. The wound bled a little; 
but it was not the kind that bled profusely. It 
was less a cut than a smashing bruise. 

"Well, that's all I can do. Who was this tenant 
Gregory?" 

"A dear old man. A valet at a Broadway hotel. 
Oh, I forgot! Johnny Two-Hawks called him Ste- 
fani Gregor." 

"Stefani Gregor?" 

"Yes. What is it? Why do you say it like 
that?" 

"Say it like what?" sparring for time. 

"As if you had heard the name before? " 

"Just as I thought!" cried Cutty, his nimble mind 
pouncing upon a happy invention. "You're ro- 
mantic, Kitty. You're imagining all sLrts of non- 
sense about this chap, and you must not let the situa- 
tion intrigue you. If I spoke the name oddly this 
Stef ani Gregor it was because I sensed in a moment 
that this was a bit of the overflow. Southeastern 
Europe, where the good Samaritan gets kicked in- 
stead of thanked. Now, here's a good idea. Of 
course we can't turn this poor chap loose upon the 
public, now that we know his life is in danger. 
That's always the trouble with this Samaritan busi- 
ness. When you commit a fine action you assume 
an obligation. You hoist the Old Man of the Sea on 
your shoulders, as it were. The chap cannot be al- 
lowed to remain here. So, if Harrison agrees, well 



The Drums of Jeopardy 81 

take him up to my diggings, where no Bolshevik 
will ever lay eyes upon him." 

"Bolshevik?" 

"For the sake of a handle. They might be China- 
men, for all I know. I can take care of him until 
he is on his feet. And you will be saved all this 
annoyance." 

"But I don't believe it's going to be an annoyance. 
I'm terribly interested, and want to see it through." 

"If he can be moved, out he goes. No argu- 
ments. He can't stay in this apartment. That's 
final." 

"Exactly why not?" Kitty demanded, rebel- 
liously. 

"Because I say so, Kitty." 

"Is Stefani Gregor an undesirable?" 

"You knew him. What do you say?" countered 
her godfather, evading the trap. The.innocent child ! 
He smiled inwardly. 

Kitty was keen. She sensed an undercurrent, and 
her first attempt to touch it had failed. The mere 
name of Stefani Gregor had not roused Cutty's as- 
tonishment. She was quite positive that the name 
was not wholly unfamiliar to her father's friend. 

Still, something warned her not to press in this 
direction. He would be on the alert. She must 
wait until he had forgotten the incident. So she 
drew up a chair beside the bed and sat down. 

Cutty leaned against the footrail, his expression 



S2 The Drums of Jeopardy 

neutral. He sighed inaudibly. His delightful cat- 
nap was over. Stefani Gregor, Kitty's neighbour, 
a valet in a fashionable hotel! Stefani Gregor, who, 
upon a certain day, had placed the drums of jeopardy 
in the palms of a war correspondent known to his 
familiars as Cutty. And who was this young man 
on the bed? 

"There goes the bell!" cried Kitty, jumping up. 

"Wait!" 

The ring was repeated vigorously and impa- 
tiently. 

"Kitty, I don't quite like the sound of that bell. 
Harrison would have no occasion to be impatient. 
Somebody in a hurry. Now, attend to me. I'm 
going to steal out to the kitchen. Don't be afraid. 
Call if I'm needed. Open the door just a crack, 
with your foot against it. If it's Harrison he'll be 
in uniform. Call out his name. Slam the door if 
It is someone you don't know." 

Kitty opened the door as instructed, but she 
swung it wide because one of the men outside was a 
policeman. The man behind him was a thickset, 
squat individual, with puffed, discoloured eyes and a 
nose that reminded Kitty of an alligator pear. 

"What's going on here?" the policeman demanded 
to know. 



CHAPTER VIII 

A PHRASE, apparently quite irrelevant to 
" the situation, shot into Kitty's head. Mori- 
bund perspectives. Instantly she knew, 
with that foretasting mind of hers, that the man 
peering over the policeman's shoulder and Johnny 
Two-Hawks had met somewhere that day. She 
was now able to compare the results, and she placed 
the victory on Two-Hawks' brow. Yonder individ- 
ual somehow justified the instinct that had prompted 
her to play the good Samaritan. Whence had this 
gorilla come? He was not one of the men who had 
issued in such dramatic haste from the Gregor apart- 
ment. 

"This man here saw you and another carrying 
someone across the fire escape. What's the rum- 
pus?" The policeman was not exactly belligerent, 
but he was dutifully determined. And though he 
was ready to grant that this girl with the Irish eyes 
was beautiful, a man never could tell. 

"There's been a tragedy of some kind," began 
Kitty. "This man certainly did see us carrying a 
man across the fire escape. He had been set upon 
and robbed in the apartment across the way." 

"Why didn't you call in the police?" 

83 



84 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Because he might have died before you got 
here." 

"Where's the man who helped you?" 

"Gone. He was an outsider. He was afraid of 
getting mixed up in a police affair and ran away." 

Behind the kitchen door Cutty smiled. She 
would do, this girl. 

"Sounds all right," said the policeman. "I'll 
take a look at the man." 

"This way, if you please," said Kitty, readily. 
"You come, too, sir," she added as the squat man 
hesitated. Kitty wanted to watch his expression 
when he saw Johnny Two-Hawks. 

Seed on rocky soil; nothing came of the little 
artifice. No Buddha's graven face was less indica- 
tive than the squat man's. Perhaps his face was too 
sore to permit mobility of expression. The drollery 
of this thought caused a quirk in one corner of Kitty's 
mouth. The squat man stopped at the foot of the 
bed with the air of a mere passer-by and seemed more 
interested in the investigations of the policeman 
than in the man on the bed. But Kitty knew. 

"A fine bang on the coco," was the policeman's 
observation. " Take anything out of his pockets? " 

"They were quite empty. I've sent for a military 
surgeon. He may arrive at any moment." 

"This fellow live across the way?" 

" That's the odd part of it. No, he doesn't." 

"Then what was he doing there?" 



The Drums of Jeopardy 85 

"Probably awaiting the return of the real tenant 
who hasn't returned up to this hour" with an 
oblique glance at the squat man. 

"Kind o' queer. Say, you stay here and watch 
the lady while I scout round." 

The squat man nodded and leaned over the foot 
of the bed. The policeman stalked out. 

"I was in the kitchen," said Kitty, confidingly. 
"I saw shadows on the window curtain. It did 
not look right. So I started to inquire and almost 
bumped into two men leaving the apartment. They 
took to their heels when they saw me." 

Again the squat man nodded. He appeared to be 
a good listener. 

"Where were you when we crossed the fire es- 
cape?" 

"In the yard on the other side of the fence." 
There was reluctance in the guttural voice. 

"Oh, I see. You live there." 

As this was a supposition and not a direct query, 
the squat man wagged his head affirmatively. 

Kitty, her ears strained for disquieting sounds in 
the kitchen, laid her palm on the patient's cheek. 
It was very hot. She dipped a bit of cotton into 
the water, which had grown cold, and dampened the 
wounded man's cheeks and throat. Not that she 
expected to accomplish anything by this act; it 
relieved the nerve tension. This man was no fool. 
If her surmises were correct he was a strong man both 



86 The Drums of Jeopardy 

in body and in mind. In a rage he would be terri- 
ble. However, had Johnny Two-Hawks done it 
beaten the man and escaped? No doubt he had 
been watching all the time and had at length stepped 
in to learn if his subordinates had followed his in- 
structions and to what extent they had succeeded. 

"If he dies it will be murder." 

"It is a big city." 

"And so many terrible things happen like this 
every day. But sooner or later those who commit 
them are found out. Nemesis always follows on the 
heels of vengeance." 

For the first time there was a flash of interest in 
the battered eyes of the intruder. Perhaps he saw 
that this was not\mly a pretty woman but a keen one, 
and sensed the veiled threat. Moreover, he knew 
that she had lied at one point. There had been no 
light in the room across the court. 

But what in the world was happening out there 
in the kitchen? Kitty wondered. So far, not a 
sound. Had Cutty really taken flight? And why 
shouldn't he have faced it out at her side? Very odd 
on Cutty's part. Shortly she heard the heavy shoes 
of the policeman returning. 

"Guess it's all right, miss. I'll report the affair 
at the precinct and have an ambulance sent over. 
You'll have to come along with me, sir." 

"Is that legally necessary?" asked the squat 
man, rather perturbed. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 87 

"Sure. You saw the thing and I verified it," 
declared the policeman. "It won't take ten min- 
utes. Your name and address, in case this man 
dies." 

"I see. Very well." 

Kitty wasn't sure, but the policeman seemed em- 
barrassed about something. The directness was 
gone from his eyes and his speech was no longer 
brisk. 

"My name is Conover," said Kitty. 

"I got that coming in," replied the policeman. 
"We'll be on our way." 

Not once again did the squat man glance at the 
man on the bed. He followed the policeman into 
the hall, his air that of one who had accepted a cer- 
tain obligation to community welfare and cancelled 
it. 

Kitty shut the door and leaned against it weakly. 
Where had Cutty gone? Even as she expressed the 
query she smelt burning tobacco. She ran out into 
the kitchen, to behold Cutty seated in a chair calmly 
smoking his infamous pipe ! 

"And I thought you were gone! What did you 
say to that policeman?" 

"I hypnotized him, Kitty." 

" The newspaper? " 

"No. Just looked into his eye and made a few 
passes with my hands." 

"Of course, if you believe you ought not to tell 



88 The Drums of Jeopardy 

me ' said Kitty, which is the way all women 
start their wheedling. 

Cutty looked into the bowl of his pipe. 

"Kitty, when you throw a cobble into a pond, 
what happens? A splash. But did you ever notice 
the way the ripples have of running on and on, until 
they touch the farthest shore?" 

"Yes. And this is a ripple from some big stone 
cast into the pond of southeastern Europe. I under- 
stand." 

"That's just the difficulty. If you understood 
nothing it would be much easier for me. But you 
know just enough to want to follow up on your own 
hook. I know nothing definitely; I have only sus- 
picions. I calmed that policeman by showing him a 
blanket police power issued by the commissioner. 
I want you to pack up and move out of this neigh- 
bourhood. It's not congenial to you." 

"I'm afraid I can't afford to move until May." 

"I'll take care of that gladly, to get you out of 
this garlicky ruin." 

"No, Cutty; I'm going to stay here until the lease 
is up." 

"Gee-whiz! The Irish are all alike," cried the 
war correspondent, hopelessly. "Petticoat or panta- 
loon, always looking for trouble." 

"No, Cutty; simply we don't run away from it. 
And there's just as much Irish in you as there is in 



me." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 89 

"Sure! And for thirty years I've gone hunting for 
trouble, and never failed to find it. I don't like this 
affair, Kitty; and because I don't I'm going to risk 
my Samson locks in your lily-white hands. I am 
going to tell you two things: I am a secret foreign 
agent of the United States Government. Now don't 
light up that way. Dark alleys and secret papers 
and beautiful adventuresses and bang-bang have 
nothing at all to do with my job. There isn't a 
grain of romance in it. Ostensibly I am a war cor- 
respondent. I have handled all the big events in 
Serbia and Bulgaria and Greece and southwestern 
Russia. Boiled down, I am a census taker of unde- 
sirables. Socialist, anarchist and Bolshevik I pho- 
tograph them in my mental 'fillums* and transmit 
to Washington. Thus, when Feodor Slopeski lands 
at Ellis Island with the idea of blowing up New York, 
he is returned with thanks. I didn't ask for the 
job; it was thrust upon me because of my knowledge 
of the foreign tongues. I accepted it because I am a 
loyal American citizen." 

"And you left me because you didn't know who 
might be at the door!" 

"Precisely. I am known in lower New York under 
another name. I'm a rabid internationalist. Down 
with everything! I don't go out much these days; 
keep under cover as much as I can. Once recog- 
nized, my value would be nil. In a flannel shirt I'm 
a dangerous codger." 



90 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"And Gregor and this poor young man are in 
some way mixed up with internationalism!" 

"Victims, probably." 

"What is the other thing you wish to tell me?" 

"Because your eyes are slate blue like your 
mother's. I loved your mother, Kitty," said Cutty, 
blinking into his pipe. "And the singular fact is, 
your father knew but your mother never did. I was 
never able to tell your mother after your father died. 
Their bodies were separated, but not their spirits." 

Kitty nodded. So that was it? Poor Cutty! 

"I make this confession because I want you to 
understand my attitude toward you. I am going 
to elect myself as your special guardian so long as 
I'm in New York. From now on, when I ask you 
to do something, understand that I believe it best 
for you. If my suspicions are correct we are not 
dealing with fools but with madmen. The most 
dangerous human being, Kitty, is an honest man 
with a half-baked or crooked idea; and that's what 
this world pother, Bolshevism, is honest men with 
crooked ideas, carrying the torch of anarchism and 
believing it enlightenment. What makes them tear 
down things? Every beautiful building is only a 
monument to their former wretchedness; and so they 
annihilate. None of them actually knows what he 
wants. A thousand will-o'-the-wisps in front of 
them, and all alike. A thousand years to throw off 
the shackles, and they expect Utopia in ten minutes! 



The Drums of Jeopardy 91 

It makes you want to weep. Socialism the broth- 
erhood of man is a beautiful thing theoretically; 
but it is like some plays they read well but do not 
act. Lopping off heads, believing them to be ideas ! " 

"The poor things!" 

"That's it. Though I betray them I pity them. 
Democracy; slowly and surely. As prickly with 
faults as a cactus pear; but every year there are less 
prickles. We don't stand still or retrogress; we 
keep going on and up. Take this town. Think of 
it to-day and compare it with the town your father 
knew. There's the bell. I imagine that will be 
Harrison. If we can move this chap will you go to 
a hotel for the night? " 

"I'm going to stay here, Cutty. That's final." 

Cutty sighed. 



CHAPTER IX 

A THE precinct station the squat man gave a 
name and an address to the bored sergeant 
at the desk, passed out a cigar, lit one him- 
self, expressed some innocuous opinions upon one 
or two topics of the day, and walked leisurely out of 
the precinct. He wanted to laugh. These pig- 
heads had never thought to question his presence in 
the backyard of the house in Seventy-ninth Street. 
It was the way he had carried himself. Those years 
in New York, prior to the war, had not been wasted. 
The brass-buttoned fools! 

Serenely unconscious that he was at liberty by 
explicit orders, because the Department of Justice 
did not care to trap a werewolf before ascertaining 
where the pack was and what the kill, he proceeded 
leisurely to the corner, turned, and broke into a run, 
which carried him to a drug store in Eightieth Street. 
Here he was joined by two men, apparently coal 
heavers by the look of their hands and faces. 

"They will take him to a hospital. Find where, 
then notify me. Remember, this is your business, 
and woe to you if you fail. Where is it?" 

One of the men extended an object wrapped in 
ordinary grocer's paper. 

92 



The Drums of Jeopardy 93 

"Ha! That's good. I shall enjoy myself pres- 
ently. Remember: telephone me the moment you 
learn where they take him. He is still alive, bun- 
glers! And you came away empty-handed." 

"There was nothing on him. We searched." 

"He has hidden them in one of those rooms. I'll 
attend to that later. Watch the hospital for an hour 
or so, then telephone for information regarding his 
condition. Is that motor for me? Very good. Re- 
member!" 

Inside the taxicab the squat man patted the object 
on his knees, and chuckled from time to time audibly. 
It would be worth all that journey, all he had gone 
through since dawn that morning. Stefani Gregor! 
After these seven long years the man who had be- 
trayed him! To reach into his breast and squeeze 
his heart as one might squeeze a bit of cheese ! Many 
things to tell, many pictures to paint. 

He rode far downtown, wound in and out of the 
warehouse district for a while, then dismissed the 
taxi and proceeded on foot to his destination a 
decayed brick mansion of the 40's sandwiched in 
between two deserted warehouses. In the hall of the 
first landing a man sat in a chair under the gas, read- 
ing a newspaper. At the approach of the squat man 
he sprang to his feet, but a phrase dissipated his ap- 
prehension and he nodded toward a door. 

"Unlock it for me and see that I am not disturbed." 

Presently the squat man stood inside the room, 



94 The Drums of Jeopardy 

which was dark. He struck a match and peered 
about for the candle. The light discovered a room 
barren of all furniture excepting the table upon which 
stood the candle, and a single chair. In this chair 
was a man, bound. He was small and dapper, his 
gray hair swept back a la Liszt. His chin was on 
his breast, his body limp. Apparently the bonds 
alone held him in the chair. 

The squat man laid his bundle on the table and 
approached the prisoner. 

"Stefani Gregor, look up; it is I!" He drummed 
on his chest like a challenging gorilla. "I, Boris 
Karlov!" 

Slowly the eyelids of the prisoner went up, reveal- 
ing mild blue eyes. But almost instantly the mild- 
ness was replaced by an agate hardness, and the body 
became upright. 

"Yes, it is Boris, whom you betrayed. But I es- 
caped by a hair, Stefani; and we meet again." 

What good to tell this poor madman that Stelani 
Gregor had not betrayed him, that he had only 
warned those marked for death? There was no 
longer reason inside that skull. To die, probably 
in a few moments. So be it. Had he not been ready 
for seven years? But that poor boy to have come 
all these thousands of miles, only to walk into a trap! 
Had he found that note? Had they killed him? 
Doubtless they had or Boris Karlov would not be 
in this room. 



95 

"We killed him to-night, Stefani, in your rooms. 
We threw out the food so he would have to seek 
something to eat. The last of that breed, stem and 
branch! We are no longer the mud; we ourselves 
are the heels. We are conquering the world. To- 
day Europe is ours; to-morrow, America!" 

A wintry little smile stirred the lips of the man in 
the chair. America, with its keen perceptions of the 
ridiculous, its withering humour! 

"No more the dissolute opera dancers will dance 
to your fiddling, Stefani, while we starve in the town. 
Fiddler, valet, tutor, the rivers and seas of Russia 
are red. We roll east and west, and our emblem is 
red. Stem and branch! We ground our heels in 
their faces as for centuries they ground theirs in ours. 
He escaped us there but I was Nemesis. He died 
to-night." 

The body in the chair relaxed a little. "He was 
clean and honest, Boris. I made him so. He would 
have done fine things if you had let him live." 

"That breed?" 

" Why, you yourself loved him when he was a boy ! " 

"Stem and branch! I loved my little sister Anna, 
too. But what did they do to her behind those 
marble walls? Did you fiddle for her? What was 
she when they let her go? My pretty little Anna! 
The fires of hell for those damned green stones of 
yours, Stefani! She heard of them and wanted to 
see them, and you promised." 



96 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"I? I never promised Anna! ... So that 
was it? Boris, I only saw her there. I never knew 
what brought her. But the boy was in England then." 

"The breed, the breed!" roared the squat man. 
"Ha, but you should have seen! Those gay officers 
and their damned master we left them with their 
faces in the mud, Stefani; in the mud! And the wo- 
men begged. Fine music! Those proud hearts, 
begging Boris Karlov for their lives their faces in 
the mud! You, born of us in those Astrakhan Hills, 
you denied us because you liked your fiddle and 
a full belly, and to play keeper of those emeralds. 
The winding paths of torture and misery and death 
by which they came into the possession of that house! 
And always the proletariat has had to pay in blood 
and daughters. You, of the people, to betray us!" 

"I did not betray you. I only tried to save those 
who had been kind to me." 

A cunning light shot into Karlov's eyes. "The 
emeralds!" He struck his pocket. "Here, Ste- 
fani; and they shall be broken up to buy bread for 
our people." 

"That poor boy! So he brought them! What 
are you going to do with me?" 

"Watch you grow thin, Stefani. You want death; 
you shall want food instead. Oh, a little; enough 
to keep you alive. You must learn what it is to be 
hungry." 

The squat man picked up the bundle from the 



Tlie Drums of Jeopardy 97 

table and tore off the wrapping paper. A violin 
the colour of old Burgundy lay revealed. 

"Boris!" The man in the chair writhed. 

"Have I waked you, Stefani?" tenderly. "The 
Stradivarius the very grand duke of fiddles! And 
he and his damned officers, how they used to call out 
'Get Stefani to fiddle for us!' And you fiddled, 
dragged your genius through the mud to keep your 
belly warm!" 

" To save a soul, Boris the boy's. When I fiddled 
his uncle forgot to drag him into an orgy. Ah, yes; I 
fiddled, fiddled because I had promised his mother!" 

"The Italian singer! She was lucky to die when 
she did. She did not see the torch, the bayonet, and 
the mud. But the boy did with his English ac- 
cent! How he escaped I don't know; but he died 
to-night, and the emeralds are in my pocket. See!" 
Karlov held the instrument close to the other's face. 
"Look at it well, this grand duke of fiddles. Look, 
fiddler, look!" 

The huge hands pressed suddenly. There was a 
brittle crackling, and a rare violin became kindling. 
A sob broke from the prisoner's lips. What to Kar- 
lov was a fiddle to him was a soul. He saw the mad- 
man fling the wreckage to the floor and grind his 
heels into the fragments. Gregor shut his eyes, but 
he could not shut his ears; and he sensed in that cold, 
demoniacal fury of the crunching heel the rising of 
maddened peoples. 



CHAPTER X 

MEANTIME, Captain Harrison of the Medi- 
cal Corps entered the Conover apartment 
briskly. 

"You old vagabond, what have you been up to? 
. . . I beg pardon!" as he saw Kitty emerge 
from behind Cutty's bulk. 

"This is Miss Conover. Harrison." 

"Very pleased, I'm sure. Luckily my case was 
in the coat room at the club. I took the liberty of 
telephoning for Miss Frances, who returned on the 
same ship with me. I concluded that your friend 
would need a nurse. Let me have a look at him." 

Callously but lightly and skillfully the surgeon 
examined the battered head. "Escaped concussion 
by a hair, you might say. Probably had his cap on. 
That black eye, though, is an older affair. Who is 
he?" 

"I suspect he's some political refugee. We don't 
know a thing about him otherwise. How soon can 
he be moved?" 

"He ought to be moved at once and given the best 
of care." 

" I can t give him that in my eagle's nest. Harrison, 
this chap's life is in danger; and if we get him into 

98 



The Drums of Jeopardy 99 

my lofty diggings they won't be able to trace him. 
Not far from here there's a private hospital I know. 
It goes through from one street to the next. I 
know the doctor. We'll have the ambulance carry 
the patient there, but at the rear I'll have one 
of the office newspaper trucks. And after a little 
wait we'Jl shoot the stretcher into the truck. The 
police will not bother us. I've seen to that. I 
rather believe it falls in with some of my work. The 
main idea, of course, is to rid Miss Conover of any 
trouble." 

"Just as you say," agreed the surgeon. "That's 
all I can do for the present. I'll run down to the 
entrance and wait for the nurse." 

"Will he live?" asked Kitty. 

"Of course he will. He is in good physical condi- 
tion. Imagine he has simply been knocked out. 
Serious only if unattended. Your finding him prob- 
ably saved him. Twelve hours will tell the story. 
May be on his feet inside a week. Still, it would 
be advisable to keep him in bed as long as possible. 
Fagged out, I should say, from that beard. I'll go 
down and wait for Miss Frances." 

"And ring three times when you return," advised 
Cutty. 

"All right. Did they try to strangle him or did 
he have something round his neck?" 

"Hanged if I know." 

"All out of the room now. I want it dark. Just 



100 The Drums of Jeopardy 

as soon as the nurse arrives I'll return. Three rings," 
Harrison left the apartment. 

Cutty spent a few minutes at the telephone, then 
he joined Kitty in the living room. 

"Kitty, what was the stranger like?" 

"Like a gorilla. He spoke English as if he had a 
cold." 

Cutty scowled into space. "Have a scar over an 
eyebrow?" 

"Good gracious, I couldn't tell! Both his eyes 
were black and his nose banged dreadfully. Johnny 
Two-Hawks probably did it." 

"Bully for Two-Hawks! Kitty, you're a marvel. 
Not a flivver from the start. And those slate-blue 
eyes of yours don't miss many things." 

"Listen!" she interrupted, taking hold of his 
sleeve. "Hear it?" 

"Only the Elevated." 

"Tumpitum-famp/ Tumpitum-tump! Cutty, you 
hypnotized me this afternoon with your horrid 
drums." 

"The emeralds?" He managed to repress the 
start. 

"I don't know what it is; drums, anyhow. Maybe 
it is the emeralds. Something has been happening 
ever since you told me about them the misery and 
evil that follow their wake." 

"But the story goes that women are immune, 
Kitty." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 101 

"Nonsense! No woman is immune where a won- 
derful gem is concerned. And yet I've common 
sense and humour." 

"And a lot more besides, Kitty. You're a raving, 
howling little beauty; and how you've remained out 
of captivity this long is a puzzler to me. Haven't 
you got a beau somewhere?" 

"No, Cutty. Perhaps I'm one of those who are 
quite willing to wait patiently. If the one I want 
doesn't come why, I'll be a jolly, philosophical old 
maid. No seconds or culls for me, as the magazine 
editor says." 

"Exactly what do you want?" Cutty was keenly 
curious, for some reason he could not define. He 
did not care for diamonds as stones; but he admired 
any personality that flashed differently from each 
new angle exposed. 

"Oh, a man, among other things. I don't mean 
one of those godlike chromos in the frontispiece of 
popular novels. He hasn't got to be handsome. 
But he must be able to laugh when he's happy, when 
he's hurt. I must be his business in life. He must 
know a lot about things I know. I want a comrade 
who will come to me when he has a joke or an ache. 
A gay man and whimsical. The law can make any 
man a husband, but only God can make a good 
comrade." 

"Kitty," said Cutty, his fine eyes sparkling, "I 
shan't have to watch over you so much as I thought. 



102 The Drums of Jeopardy 

On the other hand, you have described me to a 
dot." 

"Quite possibly. Vanity has its uses. It keeps 
us in contact with bathtubs and nice clothes. I 
imagine that you would make both husband and 
comrade; or you would have, twenty years ago" 
without intentional cruelty. Wasn't Cutty fifty- 
two? 

"Kitty, you've touched a vital point. It took 
those twenty years to make me companionable. 
Experience is something we must buy; it isn't left 
in somebody's will. Let us say that I possess all 
the necessary attributes save one." 

"And what is that?" 

"Youth, Kitty. And take the word of a senile old 
dotard, your young man, when you find him, will 
lack many of the attributes you require. On the 
other hand, there is always the possibility that these 
will develop as you jog along. The terrible pity of 
youth is that it has the habit of conferring these 
attributes rather than finding them. You put gar- 
lands on the heads of snow images, and the first 
glare of sunshine pouf!" 

"Cutty, I'm beginning to like you immensely" 
smiling. "Perhaps women ought to have two hus- 
bands one young and handsome and the other old 
and wise like yourself." 

Cutty wished he were alone in order to analyze 
the stab. Old! When he knew that mentally and 



The Drums of Jeopardy 103 

physically he could take and break a dozen Two- 
Hawks. Old! He had never thought himself that. 
Fifty-two years; they had piled up on him without 
his appreciation of the fullness of the score. And yet 
he was more than a match for any ordinary man of 
thirty in sinew and brain; and no man met the new 
morning with more zest than he himself met it. 
But to Kitty he was old! Lavender and oak leaves 
were being draped on his door knob. He laughed. 

"Why do you laugh?" 

"Oh, because- Hark!" 

The two of them ran to the bedroom door. 

"Olga! Olga!" And then a guttural level jum- 
ble of sounds. 

Kitty's quick brain reached out for a similitude 
water rushing over ragged bowlders. 

" Olga ! " she whispered. " He is a Russian ! " 

"There are Serbian Olgas and Bulgarian Olgas 
and Rumanian Olgas. Probably his sweetheart." 

"The poor thing!" 

"Sounds like Russian," added Cutty, his con- 
science pricking him. But he welcomed that " Olga." 
It would naturally put a damper on Kitty's interest. 
"There's Harrison with the nurse." 

Quarter of an hour later the patient was taken 
down to the ambulance and conveyed to the private 
hospital. Cutty had no way of ascertaining whether 
they were followed; but he hoped they would be. 
The knowledge that their victim was in a near-by 



104 The Drums of Jeopardy 

hospital would naturally serve to relax the enemy 
vigilance temporarily; and this would permit safely 
and secretly the second leg of the journey that to 
his own apartment. 

He decided to let an hour go past; then Two-Hawks 
was taken through the building to the rear and trans- 
ferred to the truck. Cutty sat with the driver while 
Captain Harrison and the nurse rode inside with the 
patient. 

On the way Cutty was rather disturbed by the 
deep impression Kitty Conover had made upon his 
heart and mind. That afternoon he had looked 
upon her with fatherly condescension, as the pretty 
daughter of the two he had loved most. From the al- 
titude of his fifty-two he had gazed down upon her 
twenty-four, weighing her as like all young women 
of twenty-four pleasure-loving and beau -hunting 
and fashion-scorched; and in a flash she had revealed 
the formed mind of a woman of thirty. Altitude. 
He had forgotten that relative to altitudes there are 
always two angles of vision that from the summit 
and that from the green valley below. Kitty saw 
him beyond the tree line, but just this side of the 
snows and matched his condescension with pity! 
He chuckled. Doddering old ass, what did it matter 
how she looked at him? 

Beautiful and young and full of common sense, 
yet dangerously romantical. To wait for the man 
she wanted, what did that signify but romance? 



The Drums of Jeopardy 105 

And there was her Irish blood to consider. The 
association of pretty nurse and interesting patient 
always afforded excellent background for senti- 
mental nonsense, the obligations of the one and the 
gratitude of the other. Well, he had nipped that 
in the bud. 

And why hadn't he taken this Two-Hawks person 
how easy it was to fall into Kitty's way of naming 
the chap! why hadn't he taken him directly to the 
Roosevelt? Why all this pother and secrecy over 
a total stranger? Stefani Gregor, who lived oppo^ 
site Kitty and who hadn't prospered particularly 
since the day he had exhibited the drums of jeopardy 
he was the reason. These were volcanic days, and 
a friend of Stefani Gregor who played the violin like 
Paganini might well be worth the trouble of a little 
courtesy. Then, too, there was that mark of the 
thong a charm, a military identification disk or 
something of value. Whatever it was, the rogues 
had got it. Murder and loot. And as soon as he 
returned to consciousness the young fellow would be 
making inquiries. 

Perhaps Kitty's point of view regarding a certain 
duffer aged fifty-two was nearer the truth than the 
duffer himself realized. Second childhood! As if 
the drums of jeopardy would ever again see light, 
after that tempest of fire and death that mud 
volcano! 

One thing was certain there would be no more 



106 The Drums of Jeopardy 

cat-napping. The game was on again. He was 
assured of that side of it. 

Green stones, the sunlight breaking against the 
flaws in a shower of golden sparks; green as the pulp 
of a Champagne grape; the drums of jeopardy! 
Murder and loot; he could understand. 

Immediately after the patient was put to bed 
Cutty changed. A nondescript suit of the day- 
labourer type and a few deft touches of coal dust 
completed his make-up. 

"I shan't be back until morning," he announced. 
" Work to do. Kuroki will be at your service through 
the night, Miss Frances. Strike that Burmese gong 
once, at any hour. Come along, Harrison." 

"Want any company?" asked Harrison, with a 
belligerent twist to his moustache. 

Cutty laughed. "No. You run along to your 
lambs. I'm running with the wolves to-night, old 
scout, and you might get that spick-and-span uni- 
form considerably mussed up. Besides, it's rain- 
ing." 

"But what's to become of Miss Conover? She 
ought not to remain alone in that apartment." 

"Well, well! I thought of that, too. But she 
can take care of herself." 

"Those ruffians may call up the hospital and learn 
that we tricked them." 

"And then?" 

"Try to force the truth from Miss Conover." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 107 

"That's precisely the wherefore of this coal dust. 
On your way!" 

Eleven o'clock. Kitty was in the kitchen, with- 
out light, her chair by the window, which she had 
thrown up. She had gone to bed, but sleep was im- 
possible. So she decided to watch the Gregor win- 
dows. 'Sometimes the mind is like a movie camera 
set for a double exposure. The whole scene is vis- 
ible, but the camera sees only half of it. Thus, 
while she saw the windows across the court there 
entered the other side of her mind a picture of the 
immaculate Cutty crossing the platform with Johnny 
Two-Hawks thrown over his shoulder. The mental 
picture obscured the actual. 

She had called him old. Well, he was old. And 
no doubt he looked upon her as a child, wanting her 
to spend the night at a hotel! The affair was over. 
No one would bother Kitty Conover. Why should 
they? But it took strength to shoulder a man like 
that. What fun he and her father must have had 
together! And Cutty had loved her mother! That 
made Kitty exquisitely tender for a moment. All 
alone, at the age when new friendships were impossi- 
ble. A lovable man like that going down through 
life alone ! 

Census taker of alien undesirables; a queer occupa- 
tion for a man so famous as Cutty. Patriotism 
to plunge into that seething revolutionary scum to 
sort the dangerous madmen from the harmless mad* 



108 The Drums of Jeopardy 

men. Courage and strength and mental resource; 
yes, Cutty possessed these; and he would be the kind 
to laugh at a joke or a hurt. 

One thing, however, was indelibly printed on her 
mind. Stefani Gregor either Cutty had met and 
known the man or he had heard of him. 

Suddenly she became conscious that she was 
blinking as one blinks from mirror-reflected sunlight. 
She cast about for the source of this phenomenon. 
Obliquely from between the interstices of the fire- 
escape platform came a point of moving white light. 
She craned her neck. A battery lamp! The round 
spot of light worked along the cement floor, van- 
ished occasionally, reappeared, and then vanished 
altogether. Somebody was down there hunting 
for something. What? 

Kitty remained with her head out of the window 
for some time, unmindful of the spatter of rain. 
But nothing happened. The man was gone. Of 
course the incident might not have the slightest 
bearing upon the previous adventures of this amazing 
night; still, it was suggestive. The young man 
had worn something round his neck. But if his 
enemies had it why should this man comb the court, 
unless he was a tenant and had knocked something 
off a window ledge? 

She began to appreciate that she was very tired, 
and decided to go back to bed. This time she fell 
asleep. Her disordered thoughts rearranged them- 



The Drums of Jeopardy 109 

selves in a dazzling dream. She found herself wan- 
dering through a glorious translucent green cavern 
a huge emerald. And in the distance she heard that 
unmistakable tumpitum-fr/rap / tumpitum-ftmp / It 
drew her irresistibly. She fought and struggled 
against the fascinating sound, but it continued to 
draw her on. Suddenly from round a corner came 
the squat man, his hair a la Fuzzy-Wuzzy. He 
caught her savagely by the shoulder and dragged her 
toward a fire of blazing diamonds. On the other 
side of that fire was a blonde young woman with a 
tiara of rubies on her head. "Save me! I am Olga, 
Olga!" Kitty struggled fiercely and awoke. 

The light was on. At the side of her bed were 
two men. One of them was holding her bare shoulder 
and digging his fingers into it cruelly. They looked 
like coal heavers. 

"We do not wish to harm you, and won't if you're 
sensible. Where did they take the man you brought 
here?" 



CHAPTER XI 

KITTY did not wrench herself loose at once. 
She wasn't quite sure that this was not a 
continuance of her nightmare. She knew 
that nightmares had a way of breaking off in the 
middle of things, of never arriving anywhere. The 
room looked natural enough and the pain in her 
shoulder seemed real enough, but one never could 
tell. She decided to wait for the next episode. 

"Answer!" cried the spokesman of the two, twist- 
ing Kitty's shoulder. "Where did they take him?' 

Awake! Kitty wrenched her shoulder away and 
swept the bedclothes up to her chin. She was thor- 
oughly frightened, but her brain was clear. The 
spark of self-preservation flew hither and about in 
search of expediencies, temporizations. She must 
come through this somehow with the vantage on her 
side. She could not possibly betray that poor young 
man, for that would entail the betrayal of Cutty also. 
She saw but one avenue, the telephone; and these 
two men were on the wrong side of the bed, between 
her and the door. 

"What do you want?" Her throat was so dry 
she wondered whether the words were projected far 
enough for them to hear. 

no 



The Drums of Jeopardy 111 

"We want the address of the wounded man you 
brought into this apartment." 

"They took him to a hospital.** 

"He was taken away from there." 

"He was?" 

"Yes, he was. You may not know where, but 
you will know the address of the man who tricked 
us; and that will be sufficient." 

"The army surgeon? He was called in by chance. 
I don't know where he lives." 

"The man in the dress suit." 

"He was with the surgeon." 

"He came first. Come; we have no time to waste. 
We don't want to hurt you, and we hope you will 
not force us." 

"Will you step out of the room while I dress?" 

"No. Tell us where the man lives, and you can 
have the whole apartment to yourself." 

"You speak English very well." 

"Enough! Do you want us to bundle you up 
in the bedclothes and carry you off? It will not be 
a pleasant experience for a pretty young woman 
like yourself. Something happened to the man 
you knew as Gregory. Will that make you under- 
stand?" 

"You know what abduction means?" 

"Your police will not catch us." 

"But I might give you the wrong address." 

"Try it and see what happens. Young lady, 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

this is a bad affair for a woman to be mixed up i&. 
Be sensible. We are in a hurry." 

"Well, you seem to have acquired at least one 
American habit!'* said a gruff voice from the bed- 
room doorway. "Raise your hands quickly, and 
don't turn," went on the gruff voice. "If I shoot 
it will be to kill. It is a rough game, as you say. 
That's it; and keep them up. Now, then, young 
lady, slip on your kimono. Get up and search 
these men. I'm in a hurry, too." 

Kitty obeyed, very lovely in her dishevelment. 
Repugnant as the task was she disarmed the two 
men and flung their weapons on the bed. 

"Now something to tie their hands; anything that 
will hold." 

Kitty could see the speaker now. Another coal 
heaver, but evidently on her side. 

"Tie their hands behind them. ... I warn 
you not to move, men. When I say I'll shoot I 
mean it. Don't be afraid of hurting them, miss. 
Very good. Now bandage their eyes. Handker- 
chiefs." 

But Kitty's handkerchiefs did not run to the 
dimensions required; so she ripped up a petticoat. 
Torn between her eagerness to complete a disagree- 
able task and her offended modesty, Kitty went 
through the performance with creditable alacrity. 
Then she jumped back into bed, doubled her knees, 
and once more drew up the bedclothes to her chin. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 113 

content to be a spectator, her eyes as wide as ever 
they possibly could be. 

Some secret-service man Cutty had sent to protect 
her. Dear old Cutty! Small wonder he had urged 
her to spend the night at a hotel. The admiration 
of her childhood returned, but without the shackles 
of shyness. She had always trusted him absolutely, 
and to this trust was now added understanding. 
To have him pop into her life again in this fashion, 
afl the ordinary approaches to intimacy wiped out 
by these amazing episodes; the years bridged in an 
hour! If only he were younger! 

"Watch them, miss. Don't be afraid to shoot. 
I'll return in a moment" still gruffly. The secret- 
service man pushed his prisoners into chairs and left 
the bedroom. 

Kitty did not care how gruff the voice was; it was 
decidedly pleasant in her ears. Gingerly she picked 
up one of the revolvers. Kitty Conover with shoot- 
ing irons in her hands, like a movie actress! She 
heard a whistle. After this an interval of silence, 
save for the ticking of the alarm clock on the stand. 
She eyed the blindfolded men speculatively, swung 
out of bed, and put on her stockings and sandals; 
then she sat on the edge of the bed and waited for the 
sequence. Kitty Conover was going to have some 
queer recollections to tell her grandchildren, provid- 
ing she had any. That morning she had risen to face 
a humdrum normal day. And here she was, at mid- 



114 The Drums of Jeopardy 

night, hobnobbing with quiescent murder and sud- 
den death! To-morrow Burlingame would ask her 
to hustle up the Sunday stuff, and she would hustle. 
She wanted to laugh, but was a little afraid that this 
laughter might degenerate into incipient hysteria. 

There was still hi her mind a vivid recollection of 
her dream the fire of diamonds and the blonde girl 
with the tiara of rubies. Olga, Olga! Russian; 
the whole affair was Russian. She shivered. Al- 
ways that land and people had appeared to her in 
sinister aspect; no doubt an impression acquired 
from reading melodramas written by Englishmen 
who, once upon a time, had given Russia preeminence 
as a political menace. Russia, in all things music, 
art, literature the tragic note. Stefani Gregor and 
Johnny Two-Hawks had roused the enmity of some 
political society with this result. Nihilist or Bol- 
shevist or socialist, there was little choice; and Cutty 
sensibly did not want her drawn into the whirlpool. 

What a pleasant intimacy hers and Cutty's prom- 
ised to be! And if he hadn't casually dropped into 
the office that afternoon she would have surrendered 
the affair to the police, and that would have been the 
end of it. Amazing thought you might jog along 
all your life at the side of a person and never know 
him half so well as someone you met in a tense epi- 
sode, like that of the immaculate Cutty crossing the 
fire escape with Two-Hawks on his shoulders ! 

She heard the friendly coal heaver going down the 



The Drums of Jeopardy 115 

corridor to the door. When he returned to the bed- 
room two men accompanied him. Not a word was 
said. The two men marched off with the prisoners 
and left Kitty alone with her saviour. 

"Thank you," she said, simply. 

"You .poor little chicken, did you believe I had 
deserted you?" The voice wasn't gruff now. 

"Cutty?" Kitty ran to him, flinging her arms 
round his neck. "Oh, Cutty!" 

Cutty's heart, which had bumped along an aston- 
ishing number of million times in fifty-two years, 
registered a memorable bump against his ribs. The 
touch of her soft arms and the faint, indescribable 
perfume which emanates from a dainty woman's 
hair thrilled him beyond any thrill he had ever known. 
For Kitty's mother had never put her arms round old 
Cutty's neck. Of course he understood readily 
enough: Molly's girl, flesh of her flesh. And she 
had rushed to him as she would have rushed to her 
father. He patted her shoulder clumsily, still a little 
dazzled for all the revelation in the analysis. The 
sweet intimacy of it! The door of Paradise opened 
for a moment, and then shut in his face. 

"I did not recognize you at all!" she cried, stand- 
ing off. "I shouldn't have known you on the street. 
And it is so simple. What a wonderful man you 
are!" 

"For an old codger?" Cutty's heart registered an- 
other sizable bump. 



116 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Kitty laughed. "Never call yourself old to me 
again. Are you always doing these things?" 

"Well, I keep moving. I suspected something 
like this might happen. Those two will go to the 
Tombs to await deportation if they are aliens. 
Perhaps we can dig something out of them relative 
to this man Gregor. Anyhow, we'll try." 

"Cutty, I saw a man in the court with a pocket 
lamp before I went to bed. He was hunting for 
something." 

"I didn't find anything but a lot of fresh food 
someone had thrown out." 

"It was you, then?" 

"Yes. There was a vague possibility that your 
protege might have thrown out something valuable 
during the struggle." 

"What?" 

"Lord knows! A queer business, Kitty, you've 
lugged me into my own! And there is one thing 
I want you to remember particularly: Life means 
nothing to the men opposed, neither chivalry nor 
ethics. Annihilation is their business. They don't 
want civilization; they want chaos. They have 
lost the sense of comparisons or they would not seek 
to thrust Bolshevism down the throats of the rest of 
the world. They say democracy has failed, and their 
substitute is murder and loot. Kitty, I want you 
to leave this roost." 

"I shall stay until my lease expires." 




Raise your hands and don't turn 
it will be to kill 



If I shoot 



The Drums of Jeopardy 117 

" Why ? In the face of real danger ? ' ' 

"Because I intend to, Cutty unless you kidnap 
me." 

"Have you any good reason?" 

"You'll laugh; but something tells me to stay here." 

But Cutty did not laugh. "Very well. To- 
morrow an assistant janitor will be installed. His 
name is Antonio Bernini. Every night he will 
whistle up the tube. Whistle back. If you are 
going out for the evening notify him where you intend 
to go and when you expect to be back. A wire 
from your bed to his cot will be installed. In danger, 
press the button. That's the best I can do for you, 
since you decide to stick. I don't believe anything 
more will happen to-night, but from now on you will 
be watched. Never come directly to my apartment. 
Break your journey two or three times with taxis. 
Always use Elevator Four. The boy is mine; be- 
longs to the service. So our Bolshevik friends won't 
gather anything about you from him." 

Asa matter of fact, Cutty had now come to the con- 
viction that it would be well to let Kitty remain 
here as a lure. He had urged her to leave, and she 
had refused, so his conscience was tolerably clear. 
Besides, she would henceforth be guarded with a 
ceaseless efficiency second only to that which encom- 
passes a President of the United States. Always 
some man of the service would be watching those 
who watched her. This was going to develop into a 



118 

game of small nets, one or two victims at a time. 
Because these enemies of civilization lacked coher- 
ence in action there would be slim chance of round- 
ing them up in bulk. But from now on men would 
vanish one here, a pair there, perhaps on occasion 
four or five. And those who had known them would 
know them no more. The policy would be that em- 
ployed by the British in the submarine campaign 
mysterious silence after the evanishment. 

"It's all so exciting!" said Kitty. "But that 
poor old man Gregor! He had a wonderful violin, 
Cutty; and sometimes I used to hear him play folk- 
lore music sad, haunting melodies." 

"We'll know in a little while what's become of him. 
I doubt there is a foreign organization in the city 
that hasn't one or more of our men on the inside* 
A 'word will be dropped somewhere. I'm rarely 
active on this side of the Atlantic; and what I'm 
doing now is practically due to interest. But every 
active operative in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, 
and Chicago is on the lookout for a man who, if 
left free, will stir up a lot of trouble. He has leader- 
ship, this Boris Karlov, a former intimate here of 
Trotzky's. We have reason to believe that he 
slipped through the net in San Francisco. Probably 
under a cleverly forged passport. Now please de- 
scribe the man who came in with the policeman. I 
haven't had time to make inquiries at the precinct, 
where they will have a minute description of him." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 119 

"He made me think of a gorilla, just as I told you. 
His face was pretty well banged up. Naturally I 
did not notice any scar. A dreadfully black beard, 
shaven." 

"Squat, powerful, like a gorilla. Lord, I wish I'd 
had a glimpse of him ! He's one of the few topnotch- 
ers I haven't met. He's the spark, the hand on the 
plunger. The powder is all ready in this land of ours ; 
our job is to keep off the sparks until we can spread 
the stuff so it will only go puff instead of bang. This 
man Karlov is bad medicine for democracy. Poor 
devil!" 

"Why do you say that?" 

"Because I'm honestly sorry for them. This 
fellow Karlov has suffered. He is now a species of 
madman nothing will cure. He and his kind have 
gained their ends in Russia, but the impetus to kill 
and burn and loot is still unchecked. Sorry, yes; 
but we can't have them here. They remind me of 
nothing so much as those blind deep-sea monsters 
in one of Kipling's tales, thrown up into air and sun- 
light by a submarine volcano, slashing and bellowing. 
But we can't have them here any longer. Keep 
those revolvers under your pillow. All you have 
to do is to point. Nobody will know that you can't 
shoot. And always remember, we're watching over 
you. Good-night." 

"Mouquin's for lunch?" 

"Well, I'll be hanged! But it can't be, Kitty. 



120 The Drums of Jeopardy 

You and I must not be seen in public. If that was 
Karlov you will be marked, and so will any one who 
travels with you." 

"Good gracious!" 

"Fact. But come up to the roost changing 
taxis to-morrow at five and have tea." 

Down in the street Cutty bore into the slanting 
rain, no longer a drizzle. With his hands jammed in 
his side pockets and his gaze on the sparkling pave- 
ment he continued downtown, in a dangerously rumi- 
native frame of mind, dangerous because had he been 
followed he would not have known it. 

Molly Conover's girl! That afternoon it had 
been Tommy Conover's girl; now she was Molly's. 
It occurred to him for the first time that he was one 
of those unfortunate individuals who are always able 
to open the door to Paradise for others and are them- 
selves forced to remain outside. Hadn't he intro- 
duced Conover to Molly, and hadn't they fallen in 
love on the spot? Too old to be a hero and not old 
enough to die. He grinned. Some day he would 
use that line. 

Of course it wasn't Kitty who set this peculiar 
cogitation in motion. It wasn't her arms and the 
perfume of her hair. The actual thrill had come 
from a recrudescence of a vanished passion; any- 
how, a passion that had been held suspended all these 
years. Still, it offered a disquieting prospect. He 
was sensible enough to realize that he would be in 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

for some confusion in trying to disassociate the phan- 
tom from the quick. 

Most pretty young women were flitter-flutters, 
unstable, shallow, immature. But this little lady 
had depth, the sense of the living drama; and, Lord, 
she was such a beauty! Wanted a man who would 
laugh when he was happy and when he was hurt. 
A bull's-eye bang, like that! For the only breed 
worth its salt was the kind that laughed when 
happy and when hurt. 

The average young woman, rushing into his arms 
the way she had, would not have stirred him hi the 
least. And immediately upon the heels of this 
thought came a taste of the confusion he saw in store 
for himself. Was it the phantom or Kitty? He 
jumped to another angle to escape the impasse. 
Kitty's coming to him hi that fashion raised an 
unpalatable suggestion. He evidently looked fath- 
erly, no matter how he felt. Hang these fifty- 
two years, to come crowding his doorstep all at 
once! 

He raised his head and laughed. He suddenly 
remembered now. At nine that night he had been 
scheduled to deliver a lecture on the Italo-Jugoslav 
muddle before a distinguished audience in the ball- 
room of a famous hotel ! He would have some fancy 
apologizing to do in the morning. 

He stepped into a doorway, then peered out cau- 
tiously. There was not a single pedestrian in sight. 



122 The Drums of Jeopardy 

No need of hiking any further in this ram; so he 
hunted for a taxi. To-morrow he would set the wires 
humming relative to old Stefani Gregor. Boris Kar- 
lov, if indeed it were he, would lead the way. Hadn't 
Stefani and Boris been boyhood friends, and hadn't 
Stefani betrayed the latter in some political affair? 
He wasn't sure; but a glance among his 1912 notes 
would clear up the fog. 

But that young chap! Who was he? Cutty set 
his process of logical deduction moving. Karlov 
always supposing that gorilla was Karlov had come 
in from the west. So had the young man. Gregor's 
inclinations had been toward the aristocracy; at 
least, that had been the impression. A Bolshevik 
would not seek haven with a man like Gregor, as this 
young man had. But Two-Hawks bothered him; 
the name bothered him, because it had no sense 
either in English or in Russian. And yet he was 
sure he had heard it somewhere. Perhaps his notes 
would throw some light on that subject, too. 

When he arrived home Miss Frances, the nurse, 
informed him that the patient was babbling in an 
outlandish tongue. For a long time Cutty stood 
hy the bedside, translating. 

"Olga! . . . Olga! . . . And she gave 
me food, Stefani, this charming American girl. 
Never must we forget that. I was hungry, and she 
gave me food. . . . But I paid for it. ... 
You, gone, there was no one else. . . . And she 



The Drums of Jeopardy 123 

is poor. . . . The torches ! . . . I am burn- 
ing, burning! . . . Olga!" 

"What does he say?" asked the nurse. 

" It is Russian. Is it a crisis? " he evaded. 

"Not necessarily. Doctor Harrison said he would 
probably return to consciousness sometime to- 
morrow. But he must have absolute quiet. No 
visitors. A bad blow, but not of fatal consequence. 
I've seen hundreds of cases much worse pull out in a 
fortnight. You'd better go to bed, sir." 

"All right," said Cutty, gratefully. He was tired. 
The ball did not rebound as it used to; the resilience 
was petering out. But look alive, there! Big 
events were toward, and he must not stop to feel of 
his pulse. 

Three o'clock in the morning. 

The man in the Gregor bedroom sat down on the 
bed, the pocket lamp dangling from his hairy fingers. 
Not a nook or cranny in the apartment had he over- 
looked. In every cupboard, drawer; in the beds and 
under; the trunks; behind the radiators and the pic- 
tures; the shelves and clothes in the closets. What 
he sought he had not found. 

His vengeance would not be complete without 
those green stones in his hands. Anna would call 
from her grave. Pretty little Anna, who had trusted 
Stefani Gregor, and gone to her doom. 

All these thousands of miles, by hook and crook, 



124 The Drums of Jeopardy 

by forged passports, by sums of money, sleepless 
nights and hungry days for this ! The last of that 
branch of the breed out of his reach, and the stones 
vanished ! A queer superstition had taken lodgment 
in his brain; he recognized it now for the first time. 
The possession of those stones would be a sign from 
God to go on. Green stones for bread! Green 
stones for bread! The drums of jeopardy! In his 
hands they would be talismanic. 

But wait! That pretty girl across the way. Sup- 
posing he had intrusted the stones to her? Or 
hidden them there without her being aware of it? 



CHAPTER XII 

KITTY CONOVER ate in the kitchen. First 
off, this statement is likely to create the false 
impression that there was an ordinary grain 
here, a wedge of base hemlock in the citron. Not so. 
She ate in the kitchen because she could not yet face 
that vacant chair in the dining room without chok- 
ing and losing her appetite. She could not look at 
the chair without visualizing that glorious, whimsical, 
fascinating mother of hers, who could turn grumpy 
janitors into comedians and send importunate bill 
collectors away with nothing but spangles in their, 
heads. 

So long as she stayed out of the dining room she 
could accept her loneliness with sound philosophy. 
She knew, as all sensible people know, that there 
were ghosts, that memory had haunted galleries, 
and that empty chairs were evocations. 

Her days were so busily active, there were so 
many first nights and concerts, that she did not 
mind such evenings as she had to spend alone in the 
apartment. Persons were in and out of the office 
all through the day, and many of them entertaining. 
For only real persons ever penetrated that well- 
guarded cubby-hole off the noisy city room. Many 



126 The Drums of Jeopardy 

of them were old friends of her mother. Of course 
they were a little pompous, but this was less innate 
than acquired; and she knew that below they were 
worth while. She had come to the conclusion that 
successful actors and actresses were the only people 
in America who spoke English fluently and cor- 
rectly. 

Yes, she ate in the kitchen; but she would have 
been a fit subject for the fastidious Fragonard. 
Kitty was naturally an exquisite. Everything about 
her was dainty, her body and her mind. The back- 
ground of pans and dishes, gas range and sink did 
not absorb Kitty; her presence here in the morning 
lifted everything out of the rut of commonplace 
and created an atmosphere that was ornamental. 
Pink peignoir and turquoise-blue boudoir cap, silk 
petticoat and stockings and adorable little slippers. 
No harm to tell the secret! Kitty was educating 
herself for a husband. She knew that if she ac- 
quired the habit of daintiness at breakfast before 
marriage it would become second nature after mar- 
riage. Moreover, she was determined that it should 
be tremendous news that would cause a newspaper 
to intervene. She had all the confidence in the world 
in her mirror. 

She got her breakfast this morning, singing. She 
was happy. She had found a door out of monotony; 
theatrical drama had given way to the living. She 
had opened the book of adventure and she was going 



The Drums of Jeopardy 127 

straight through to finis. That there was an under- 
tow of the sinister escaped her or she ignored it. 

In all high-strung Irish souls there is a bit of the 
old wife, the foreteller; the gift of prescience; and 
Kitty possessed this in a mild degree. Something 
held her here, when for a dozen reasons she should 
have gone elsewhere. 

She strained the coffee, humming a tune out of 
The Mikado, the revival of which she had seen 
lately: 

My object aJl sublime 

I shall achieve in time 
To make the punishment fit the crime. 

The punishment fit the crime. 

And make the prisoner pent 

Unwillingly represent 
A source of innocent merriment. 

Of innocent merriment ! 

And there you were ! To make the punishment fit 
the crime. Wall in the Bolsheviki, the I. W. W.'s, 
the Red Socialist, the anarchists and let them try 
it for ten years. Those left would be glad enough to 
embrace democracy and sanity. The poor benighted 
things, to imagine that they were going forward there 
in Russia! What kind of mentality was it that could 
conceive a blessing to humanity in the abolition of 
baths and work? And Cutty felt sorry for them. 
Well, as for that, so did Kitty Conover; and she 
would continue feeling sorry for them so long as they 



128 The Drums of Jeopardy 

remained thousands of miles away. But next 
door! 

"Grapefruit, eggs on toast, and coffee; mademoi- 
selle is served!" she cried, gayly, sitting down and 
attacking her breakfast with the zest of healthy 
youth. 

Often the eyes are like the lenses of a camera 
minus the sensitized plate; they see objects without 
printing them. Thus a dozen tunes Kitty's glance 
absently swept the range and the racks on each side 
of the stovepipe, one rack burdened with an empty 
pancake jug and the other cluttered with old-fash- 
ioned flatirons; but she saw nothing. 

She was carefully reviewing the events of the night 
before. She could not dismiss the impression that 
Cutty knew Stefani Gregor or had heard of him; 
and in either case it signified that Gregor was some- 
thing more than a valet. And decidedly Two- 
Hawks was not of the Russian peasantry. 

By the time she was ready to leave for the office 
the Irish blood in her was seething and bubbling 
and dancing. She knew she would do crazy, impul- 
sive things all day. It was easy to analyze this ex- 
uberance. She had reached out into the dark and 
touched danger, and found a new thrill in a hum- 
drum world. 

The Great Dramatist had produced a tremendous 
drama and she had watched curtain after curtain 
fall from the wrong side of the lights. Now she 



The Drums of Jeopardy 129 

had been given a speaking part; and she would 
be down stage for a moment or two dusting the 
furniture while the stars were retouching their 
make-up. It was not the thought of Cutty, of 
Gregor, of Johnny Two-Hawks, of hidden treasure; 
simply she had arrived somewhere in the great 
drama. 

When she reached the office she had a hard time of 
it to settle down to the day's work. 

"Hustle up that Sunday stuff," said Burlingame. 
Kitty laughed. Just as she had pictured it. She 
hustled. 

"I have it!" she cried, breaking a spell of silence. 

"What St. Vitus?" inquired Burlingame, pa- 
tiently. 

"No; the Morgue!" 

"What the dickens !" 

But Kitty was no longer there to answer. 

In all newspaper offices there is a department 
flippantly designated as the Morgue. Obituaries 
on ice, as it were. A photograph or an item con- 
cerning a great man, a celebrated, beauty or some 
notorious rogue; from the king calibre down to 
Gyp-the-Blood brand, all indexed and laid away 
against the instant need. So, running her finger tip 
down the K's, Kitty found Karlov. The half tone 
which she eventually exhumed from the tin box was 
an excellent likeness of the human gorilla who had 
entered her rooms with the policeman. She would 



130 The Drums of Jeopardy 

be able to carry this positive information to Cutty 
that afternoon. 

When she left the office at four she took the Sub- 
way to Forty-second Street. She engaged a taxi 
from the Knickerbocker and discharged it at the 
north entrance to the Waldorf, which she entered. 
She walked through to the south entrance and got 
into another taxi. She left this at Wanamaker's, 
ducking and dodging through the crowded aisles. 
She selected this hour because, being a woman, she 
knew that the press of shoppers would be the great- 
est during the day. Karlov's man and the secret- 
service operative detailed by Cutty both made the 
same mistake followed Kitty into the dry-goods 
shop and lost her as completely as if she had popped 
up in China. At quarter to five she stepped into 
Elevator Number Four of the building which Cutty 
called his home, very well pleased with herself. 



CHAPTER XIII 

TO UNDERSTAND Kitty at this moment 
one must be able to understand the Irish; 
and nobody does or can or will. Consider 
her twenty-four years, her corpuscular inheritance, 
the love of drama and the love of adventure. Im- 
agine possessing sound ideas of life and the ability 
to apply them, and spiritually always galloping off 
on some broad highway more often than not fur- 
nished by some engaging scoundrel of a novelist 
and you will be able to construct a half tone of Kitty 
Conover. 

That civilization might be actually on its deathbed, 
that positively half of the world was starving and 
dying and going mad through the reaction of the 
German blight touched her in a detached way. She 
felt sorry, dreadfully sorry, for the poor things; but 
as she could not help them she dismissed them from 
her thoughts every morning after she had read the 
paper, the way most of us do here in these United 
States. You cannot grapple with the misery of an 
unknown person several thousand miles away. 

That which had taken place during the past 
twenty-four hours was to her a lark, a blindman's 
buff for grown-ups. It was not in her to tremble, 

131 



132 The Drums of Jeopardy 

to shudder, to hesitate, to weigh this and to balance 
that. Irish curiosity. Perhaps in the original that 
immortal line read: "The Irish rush in where 
angels fear to tread," and some proofreader had a 
particular grudge against the race. 

When the elevator reached the seventeenth floor, 
the passengers surged forth. All except Kitty, who 
tarried. 

"We don't carry to the eighteenth, miss." 

"I am Miss Conover," she replied. "I dared not 
tell you until we were alone." 

"I see." The boy nodded, swept her with an ap 
praising glance, and sent the elevator up to the 
loft. 

"You understand? If any one inquires about me, 
you don't remember." 

" Yes, miss. The boss's orders." 

"And if any one does inquire you are to report at 
once." 

"That, too." 

The boy rolled back the door and Kitty stepped 
out upon a Laristan runner of rose hues and cobalt 
blue. She wondered what it cost Cutty to keep up 
an establishment like this. There were fourteen 
rooms, seven facing the north and seven facing the 
west, with glorious vistas of steam-wreathed roofs 
and brick Matterhorns and the dim horizon touching 
the sea. Fine rugs and tapestries and furniture 
gathered from the four ends of the world; but 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

wholly livable and in no sense atmospheric of the 
museum. Cutty had excellent taste. 

She had visited the apartment but twice before, 
once in her childhood and again when she was eigh- 
teen. Cutty had given a dinner in honour of her 
mother's birthday. She smiled as she recalled the 
incident. Cutty had placed a box of candles at the 
side of her mother's plate and told her to stick as 
many into the cake as she thought best. 

"Hello!" said Cutty, emerging from one of the 
doors. "What the dickens have you been up to? 
My man has just telephoned me that he lost track 
of you in Wanamaker's." 

Kitty explained, delighted. 

"Well, well! If you can lose a man such as I 
set to watch you, you'll have no trouble shaking the 
others." 

"It was Karlov, Cutty." 

"How did you learn?" 

"Searched the morgue and found a half tone of 
him. Positively Karlov. How is the patient? " 

"Harrison says he's pulling round amazingly. A 
tough skull. He'll be up for his meals in no time." 

"How do you do it?" she asked with a gesture. 

"Do what?" 

"Manage a place like this? In a busy office dis- 
trict. It's the most wonderful apartment in New 
York. Riverside has nothing like it. It must cost 
like sixty." 



134 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"The building is mine, Kitty. That makes it 
possible. An uncle who knew I hated money and 
the responsibilities that go with it, died and left it 
to me." 

"Why, Cutty, you must be rich!" 

"I'm sorry. What can I do? I can't give it 
away." 

"But you don't have to work!" 

"Oh, yes, I do. I'm that kind. I'd die of a 
broken heart if I had to sit still. It's the game." 

"Did mother know?" 

"Yes." 

With the toe of a snug little bronze boot Kitty 
drew an outline round a pattern in the rug. 

"Love is a funny thing," was her comment. 

"It sure is, old-timer. But what put the thought 
into your head?" 

"I was thinking how very much mumsy must 
have been in love with father." 

"But she never knew that I loved her, Batty." 

"What's that got to do with it? If she had 
wanted money you wouldn't have had the least 
chance in the world." 

" Probably not ! But what would you have done in 
your mother's place?" 

"Snapped you up like that!" Kitty flashed back. 

"You cheerful little little 

"Liar. Say it!" Kitty laughed. "But am I a 
cheerful little liar? I don't know. It would be an 



The Drums of Jeopardy 135 

awful temptation. Somebody to wait on you; 
heaps of flowers when you wanted them; beautiful 
gowns and thingummies and furs and limousines. 
I've often wondered what I should do if I found my- 
self with love and youth on one side and money and 
attraction on the other. I've always been in strait- 
ened circumstances. I never spent a dollar in all my 
days when I didn't think I ought to have held back 
three or four cents of it. You can't know, Cutty, 
what it is to be poor and want beautiful things and 
good times. Of course I couldn't marry just money. 
There would have to be some kind of a man to go with 
it. Someone interesting enough to make me forget 
sometimes that I'd thrown away a lover for a pocket- 
book." 

"Would you marry me, Kitty?" 

"Are you serious?" 

"Let's suppose I am." 

"No. I couldn't marry you, Cutty. I should 
always be having my mother's ghost as a rival." 

"But supposing I fell in love with you?" 

"Then I'd always be doubting your constancy. 
But what queer talk ! " 

"Kitty, you're a joy ! Lordy, my luck in dropping 
in to see you yesterday!" 

"And a little whippersnapper like me calling a 
great man like you Cutty ! " 

"Well, if it embarrasses you, you might switch to 
papa once in a while." 



136 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Kitty's laughter rang down the corridor. "I'll 
remember that whenever I want to make youj mad. 
Who's here?" 

"Nobody but Harrison and the nurse. Both 
good citizens, and I've taken them into my confi- 
dence to a certain extent. You can talk freely before 
them." 

"Am I to see the patient?" 

"Harrison says not. About Wednesday your 
Two-Hawks will be sitting up. I've determined to 
keep the poor devil here until he can take care of 
himself. But he is flat broke." 

"He said he had money." 

"Well, Karlov's men stripped him clean." 

"Have you any idea who he is? " 

"To be honest, that's one of the reasons why I 
want to keep him here. He's Russian, for all his 
Oxford English and his Italian gestures; and from 
his babble I imagine he's been through seven kinds 
of hell. Torches and hobnailed boots and the inces- 
sant call for a woman named Olga a young woman 
about eighteen." 

"How did you find that out?" 

"From a photograph I found in the lining of his 
coat. A pretty blonde girl." 

"Good heavens!" recollecting her dream. 
"Where was it printed?" 

"Amateur photography. I'll pick it up on the 
way to the living room." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 137 

It was nothing like the blonde girl of her dream. 
Still, the girl was charming. Kitty turned over the 
photograph. There was writing on the back. 

"Russian? What does it say?" 

" 'To Ivan from Olga with all her love.' " 

Cutty was conscious of the presence of an inde- 
fensible malice in his tones. Why the deuce should 
he be bitter-glad that the chap had left behind a 
sweetheart? He knew exactly the basis of Kitty's 
interest, as utterly detached as that of a reporter 
going to a fire. On the day the patient could explain 
himself, Kitty's interest would automatically cease. 
An old dog in the manger? Malice. 

"Cutty, something dreadful has happened to this 
poor young woman. That's what makes him cry 
out the name. Caught in that horror, and prob- 
ably he alone escaped. Is it heartless to be glad 
I'm an American? Do they let in these Russians?" 

"Not since the Trotzky regime. I imagine Two- 
Hawks slipped through on some British passport. 
He'll probably tell us all about it when he comes 
round. But how do you feel after last night's 
bout?" 

"Alive! And I'm going on being alive, forever 
and ever! Oh, those awful drums! They look like 
dead eyes in those dim corners. Tumpitum-^Mrap/ 
Tumpitum-famp/" she cried, linking her arm in his. 
"What a gorgeous view! Just what I'm going to 
do when my ship comes in live in a loft. I really 



138 The Drums of Jeopardy 

believe I could write up here I mean worth-while 
things I could enjoy writing and sell.** 

"It's yours if you want it when I leave.** 

"And I'd have a fine time explaining to my friends! 
You old innocent! . . . Or are you so innocent?*' 

"We do live in a cramped world. But I meant it. 
Don't forget to whistle down to Tony Bernini when 
you get back home to-night.'* 

"I promise.'* 

"Why the gurgle?" 

"Because I'm tremendously excited. All my life 
I've wanted to do mysterious things. I've been with 
the audience all the while, and I want to be with the 
actors." 

"You'll give some man a wild dance." 

"If I do I'll dance with him. Now lead me to the 
cookies." 

She was the life of the tea table. Her wit, her 
effervescence, her whimsicalities amused even the 
prim Miss Frances. When she recounted the exploit 
of the camouflaged fan, Cutty and Harrison laughed 
so loudly that the nurse had to put her finger on her 
lips. They might wake the patient. 

"I am really interested in him," went on Kitty. 
"I won't deny it. I want to see how it's going to 
turn out. He was very nice after I let him into the 
kitchen. A perfectly English manner and voice, and 
Italian gestures when off his guard. I feel so sorry 
for him. What strangers we races are to each other! 



The Drums of Jeopardy 139 

Until the war we hardly knew the Canadians. The 
British didn't know us at all, and the French be- 
came acquainted with the British for the first time in 
history. And the German thought he knew us all 
and really knew nobody. All the Russians I ever 
saw were peasants of the cattle type; so that the word 
Russian conjures up two pictures the grand duke at 
Monte Carlo and a race of men who wear long beards 
and never bathe except when it rains. Think of it! 
For the first tune since God set mankind on earth 
peoples are becoming acquainted. I never saw a 
Russian of this type before." 

"A leaf in the whirlpool. Anyhow, we'll keep him 
here until he's on his feet. By the way, never answer 
any telephone call I mean, go anywhere on a call 
unless you are sure of the speaker." 

"I begin to feel important." -i 

"You are important. You have suddenly become 
a connecting link between this Karlov and the man 
we wish to protect. I'll confess I wanted you out 
of that apartment at first; but when I saw that you 
were bent on remaining, I decided to make use of 

you." 

"You are going to give me a part in the play?" 
"Yes. You are to go about your affairs as al- 
ways, just as if nothing had happened. Only when 
you wish to come here will you play any game like 
that of to-day. Then it will be advisable. Switch 
your route each time. Your real part is to be that 



140 The Drums of Jeopardy 

of lure. Through you we shall gradually learn who 
Karlov's associates are. If you don't care to play the 
role all you have to do is to move.' 

"The idea! I'm grateful for anything. You 
men will never understand. You go forth into the 
world each day politics, diplomacy, commerce, war 
while we women stay at home and knit or darn 
socks or take care of the baby or make over our clothes 
and hats or do household work or play the piano or 
read. Never any adventure. Never any games. 
Never any clubs. The leaving your house to go to 
the office is an adventure. A tram from here to 
Philadelphia is an adventure. We women are al- 
ways craving it. And about all we can squeeze out 
of life is shopping and hiding the bills after marriage, 
and going to the movies before marriage with young 
men our fathers don't like. We can't even stroll the 
street and admire the handsome gowns of our more 
fortunate sisters the way you men do. When you 
see a pretty woman on the street do you ever stop to 
think that there are ten at home eating their hearts 
out? Of course you don't. So I'm going through 
with this, to satisfy suppressed instincts; and I shan't 
promise to trot along as usual." 

"They may attempt to kidnap you, Kitty." 

"That doesn't frighten me." 

"So I observe. But if they ever should have the 
luck to kidnap you, tell all you know at once. There's 
only one way up here the elevator. I can get out 



The Drums of Jeopardy 141 

to the fire escape, but none can get in from that direc- 
tion, as the door is of steel." 

"And, -of course, you'll take me into your confi- 
dence completely?" 

"When the time comes. Half the fun in an ad- 
venture is the element of the unexpected," said 
Cutty. 

"Where did you first meet Stefani Gregor?" 

Captain Harrison laughed. He liked this girl. 
She was keen and could be depended upon, as wit- 
ness last night's work. Her real danger lay in being 
conspicuously pretty, in looking upon this affair as 
merely a kind of exciting game, when it was tragedy. 

"What makes you think I know Stefani Gregor?" 
asked Cutty, genuinely curious. 

"When I pronounced that name you whirled upon 
me as if I had struck you." 

"Very well. When we learn who Two-Hawks 
is I'll tell you what I know about Gregor. And in 
the meantime you will be ceaselessly under guard. 
You are an asset, Kitty, to whichever side holds you. 
Captain Harrison is going to stay for dinner. Won't 
you join us?" 

"I'm going to a studio potluck with some girls. 
And it's time I was on the way. I'll let your Tony 
Bernini know. Home probably at ten." 

Cutty went with her to the elevator and when 
he returned to the tea table he sat down without 
speaking. 



142 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Why not kidnap her yourself," suggested Harri- 
son, "if you don't want her in this?" 

"She would never forgive me." 

"If she found it out." 

"She's the kind who would. What do you think of 
her, Miss Frances?" 

"I think she is wonderful. Frankly, I should 
tell her everything if there is anything more to be 
told." 

When dinner was over, the nurse gone back to the 
patient and Captain Harrison to his club, Cutty lit 
his odoriferous pipe and patrolled the windows of his 
study. Ever since Kitty's departure he had been 
muHing over in his mind a plan regarding her future 
to add a codicil to his will, leaving her five thousand 
a year, so Molly's girl might always have a dainty 
frame for her unusual beauty. The pity of it was 
that convention denied him the pleasure of settling 
the income upon her at once, while she was young. 
He might outlive her; you never could tell. Any- 
how, he would see to the codicil. An accident might 
step in. 

He got out his chrysoprase. In one corner of the 
room there was a large portfolio such as artists use 
for their proofs and sketches; and from this he took a 
dozen twelve-by-fourteen-inch photographs of beau- 
tiful women, most of them stage beauties of bygone 
years. The one on top happened to be Patti. The 
adorable Patti! . . Linda, Violetta, Lucia. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 143 

/ 

Lord, what a nightingale she had been ! He laughed, 
laid the photograph on the desk, and dipped his hand 
into a canvas bag filled with polished green stones 
which would have great commercial value if people 
knew more about them; for nothing else in the world 
is quite so beautifully green. 

He built tiaras above the lovely head and laid 
necklaces across the marvellous throat. Suddenly 
a phenomenon took place. The roguish eyes of 
the prima donna receded and vanished and slate- 
blue ones replaced them. The odd part of it was, 
he could not dissipate the fancied eyes for the re- 
placement of the actual. Patti, with slate-blue 
eyes! He discarded the photograph and selected 
another. He began the game anew and was just be- 
ginning the attack on the problem uppermost in 
his mind when the phenomenon occurred again. 
Kitty's eyes! What infernal nonsense! Kitty had 
served merely to enliven his tender recollections 
of her mother. Twenty-four and fifty-two. And 
yet, hadn't he just read that Maeterlinck, fifty-six, 
had married Mademoiselle Dahon, many years 
younger? 

In a kind of resentful fury he pushed back his 
chair and fell to pacing, eddies and loops and spirals 
of smoke whirling and sweeping behind him. The 
only light was centred upon the desk, so he might 
have been some god pacing cloud-riven Olympus 
in the twilight. By and by he laughed; and the at- 



144 The Drums of Jeopardy 

mosphere mental cleared. Maeterlinck, fifty-six, 
and Cutty, fifty -two, were two different men. Cutty 
might mix his metaphors occasionally, but he wasn't 
going to mix his ghosts. 

He returned to his singular game. More tiaras 
and necklaces; and his brain took firm hold of the 
theme which had in the beginning lured him to the 
green stones. 

Two-Hawks. That name bothered him. He 
knew he had heard it before, but never in the Russian 
tongue. It might be that the chap had been spoofing 
Kitty. Still, he had also called himself Hawksley. 

The smoke thickened; there were frequent flares 
of matches. One by one Cutty discarded the photo- 
graphs, dropping them on the floor beside his chair, 
his mind boring this way and that for a solution. He 
had now come to the point where he ceased to see the 
photographs or the green stones. The movements 
of his hands were almost automatic. And in this 
abstract manner he came to the last photograph. 
He built a necklace and even ventured an earring. 

It was a glorious face black eyes that followed 
you; full lipped; every indication of fire and genius. 
It must be understood that he rarely saw the photo- 
graphs when he played this game. It wasn't an 
amusing pastime, a mental relaxation. It was a 
unique game of solitaire, the photographs and chry- 
soprase being substituted for cards; and in some inex- 
plicable manner it permitted him to concentrate 



TJie Drums of Jeopardy 145 

upon whatever problem filled his thoughts. It was 
purely accidental that he saw Patti to-night or re- 
called her art. Coming upon the last photograph 
without having found a solution of the riddle of 
Two-Hawks he relaxed the mental pressure; and his 
sight reestablished its ability to focus. 

"Good Lord!" he ejaculated. 

He seized the photograph excitedly, scattering the 
green stones. She! The Calabrian, the enchanting 
colouratura who had vanished from the world at the 
height of her fame, thirty -odd years gone! Two- 
Hawks! 

Cutty saw himself at twenty, in the pit at La 
Scala, with music-mad Milan all about him. Two- 
Hawks! He remembered now. The nickname the 
young bloods had given her because she had been 
eternally guarded by her mother and aunt, fierce- 
beaked Calabrians, who had determined that Rosa 
should never throw herself away on some beggarly 
Adonis. 

And this chap was her son! Yesterday, rich and 
powerful, with a name that was open sesame wher- 
ever he went; to-day, hunted, penniless, and forlorn. 
Cutty sank back in his chair, stunned by the revela- 
tion. In that room yonder! 



CHAPTER XIV 

FOR a long time Cutty sat perfectly motion- 
less, his pipe at an upward angle a fine 
commentary on the strength of his jaws 
and his gaze boring into the shadows beyond his 
desk. What was uppermost in his thoughts now 
was the fateful twist of events that had brought the 
young man to the assured haven of this towering 
loft. 

All based, singularly enough, upon his wanting to 
see Molly's girl for a few moments; and thus he had 
established himself in Kitty's thoughts. Instead of 
turning to the police she had turned to him. Old 
Cutty, reaching round vaguely for something to stay 
the current age; hoping by seeing this living link 
'twixt the present and the past to stay the afterglow 
of youth. As if that could be done! He, who had 
never paid any attention to gray hairs and wrinkles 
and time, all at once found himself in a position simi- 
lar to that of the man who supposes he has an inex- 
haustible sum at the bank and has just been notified 
that he has overdrawn. 

Cutty knew that life wasn't really coordination 
and premeditation so much as it was coincident. 
Trivials. Nothing was absolute and dependable 

146 



The Drums of Jeopardy 147 

but death; between birth and death a series of acci- 
dents and incidents and coincidents which men called 
life. 

He tapped his pipe on the ash tray and stood up. 
He gathered the chrysoprase and restored the stones 
to the canvas bag. Then he carefully stacked the 
photographs and carried them to the portfolio. The 
green stones he deposited in a safe, from which he 
took a considerable bundle of small notebooks, 
returning to the desk with these. Denatured dyna- 
mite, these notebooks, full of political secrets, solu- 
tions of mysteries that baffle historians. A truly 
great journalist never writes history as a historian; 
he is afraid to. Sometimes conjecture is safer 
than fact. And these little notebooks were the re- 
pository of suppressed facts ranging over twenty- 
odd years. Gerald Stanley Lee would have recog- 
nized them instantly as coming under the head of 
what he calls Sh! 

An hour later Cutty returned the notebooks to 
their abiding place, his memory refreshed. The 
poor devil! A dissolute father and uncle, dissolute 
forbears, corrupt blood weakened by intermarriage, 
what hope was there? Only one the rich, fiery blood 
of the Calabrian mother. 

But why had the chap come to America? Why 
not England or the Riviera, where rank, even if shorn 
of its prerogatives, is still treated respectfully? But 
America! 



148 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Cutty's head went up. Perhaps that was it > 
to barter his phantom greatness for money, to dazzle 
some rich fool of an American girl. In that case 
Karlov would be welcome. But wait a moment. 
The chap had come in from the west. In that event 
there should be an Odyssey of some kind tucked 
away in the affair. 

Cutty resumed his pacing. The moment his im- 
agination caught the essentials he visualized the 
Odyssey. Across mountains and deserts, rivers and 
seas, he followed Two-Hawks in fancy, pursued by 
an implacable hatred, more or less historical, of 
which the lad was less a cause than an abstract ob- 
ject. And Karlov Cutty understood Karlov now 
always span near, his hate reenergizing his falter- 
ing feet. 

There was evidently some iron in this Two-Hawks' 
blood. Fear never would have carried him thus far. 
Fear would have whispered, "Futility! Futility!" 
And he would have bent his head to the stroke. So 
then there was resource and there was courage. 
And he lay in yonder room, beaten and penniless. 
The top piece in the grim irony to have come all 
these thousands of miles unscathed, to be dropped at 
the goal. But America? Well, that would be 
solved later. 

"By the Lord Harry!" Cutty stopped and struck 
his hands together. "The drums!" 

From the hour Kitty had pronounced the name 



Tlie Drums of Jeopardy 149 

Stefani Gregor an idea had taken lodgment, an 
irrepressible idea, that somewhere in this drama 
would be the drums of jeopardy. The mark of the 
thong! Never any doubt of it now. Those magnifi- 
cent emeralds were here in New York. The mob 
the Red Guard hammering on the doors, what 
would have been Two-Hawks' most natural first 
thought? To gather what treasures the hand could 
be laid to and flee. Here in New York, and in 
Karlov's hands, ultimately to be cut up for Bolshevik 
propaganda ! The infernal pity of it ! 

The passion of the gem hunter blazed forth, 
dimming all other phases of the drama. Here was a 
real game, a man's game; sport! Cutty rubbed his 
hands together pleasurably. To recover those green 
flames before they could be broken up; under the 
ancient ruling that "Findings is keepings." The 
stones, of course, meant nothing to Karlov beyond the 
monetary value; and upon this fact Cutty began 
developing a plan. He stood ready to buy those 
stones if he could draw them into the open. Lord, 
how he wanted them! Murder and loot, always 
murder and loot! 

The thought of those two incomparable emeralds 
being broken up distressed him profoundly. He 
must act at once, before the desecration could be 
consummated. Two-Hawks Hawksley hereafter, for 
the sake of convenience had an equity in the gems; 
but what of that? In smuggling them in and how 



150 The Drums of Jeopardy 

the deuce had he done it? he had thrown away his 
legal right to them. Cutty kneaded his conscience 
into a satisfactory condition of quiescence and went 
on with his planning. If he succeeded in recovering 
the stones and his conscience bit a little too deeply 
for comfort why, he could pay over to Hawksley 
twenty per cent, of the price Karlov demanded. He 
could take it or leave it. In a case like this to a 
bachelor without dependents money was no ob- 
ject. All his life he had wanted a fine emerald to 
play with, and here was an opportunity to acquire 
two! 

If this plan failed to draw Karlov into the open, 
then every jeweller and pawnbroker in town would be 
notified and warned. What with the secret-service 
operatives and the agents of the Department of 
Justice on the watch for Karlov who would recog- 
nize his limitations of mobility it was reasonable to 
assume that the Bolshevik would be only too glad to 
dicker secretly for the disposal of the stones. 

Now to work. Cutty looked at his watch. 
Nearly midnight. Rather late, but he knew all the 
tricks of this particular kind of game. If the ad- 
vertisement appeared isolated, all the better. The 
real job would be to hide his identity. He saw a way 
round this difficulty. He wrote out six advertise- 
ments, all worded the same. He figured out the cost 
and was delighted to find that he carried the neces- 
sary currency. Then he got into his engineer'* 



The Drums of Jeopardy 151 

dungarees, touched up his face and hands to the 
required griminess, and sallied forth. 

Luck attended him until he reached the last morn- 
ing newspaper on the list. Here he was obliged to 
proceed to the city room risky business. A queer 
advertisement coming into the city room late at 
night was always pried into, as he knew from experi- 
ence. Still, he felt that he ought not to miss any 
chance to reach Karlov. 

He explained his business to the sleepy gate boy, 
who carried the advertisement and the cash to the 
night city editor's desk. Ordinarily the night city 
editor would have returned the advertisement with 
the crisp information that he had no authority to 
accept advertisements. But the "drums of jeopardy" 
caught his attention; and he sent a keen glance 
across the busy room to the rail where Cutty stood, 
perhaps conspicuously. 

"Humph!" He called to one of the reporters. 
"This looks like a story. I'll run it. Follow that 
guy in the overalls and see what's in it." 

Cutty appreciated the interlude for what it was 
worth. Someone was going to follow him. When 
the gate boy returned to notify him that the ad- 
vertisement had been accepted, Cutty went down to 
the street. 

"Hey, there; just a moment!" hailed the reporter. 
"I want a word with you about that advertise- 
ment." 



152 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Cutty came to a standstill. "I paid for it, 
didn't I?" 

"Sure. But what's this about the drums of 
jeopardy?" 

"Two great emeralds I'm hunting for," explained 
Cutty, recalling the man who stood on London 
Bridge and peddled sovereigns at two bits each, and 
no buyer. 

"Can it! Can it!" jeered the reporter. "Be a 
good sport and give us the tip. Strike call among 
the city engineers?" 

"I'm telling you." 

"Like Mike you are!" 

"All right. It's the word to tie up the surface 
lines, like Newark, if you want to know. Now, get 
t' hell out o' here before I hand you one on the jaw!" 

The reporter backed away. "Is that on the 
level?" 

" Call up the barns and find out. They'll tell you 
what's on. And listen, if you follow me, I'll break 
your head . On your way ! ' ' 

The reporter dashed for the elevator and back to 
the doorway in time to see Cutty legging it for the 
Subway. As he was a reporter of the first class he 
managed to catch the same express uptown. 

On the way uptown Cutty considered that he had 
accomplished a shrewd bit of work. Karlov or one 
of his agents would certainly see that advertisement; 
and even if Karlov suspected a Federal trap he .would 



The Drums of Jeopardy 153 

find some means of communicating with the issuer of 
the advertisement. 

The thought of Kitty returned. What the dickens 
would she say how would she act when she learned 
who this Hawksley was? He fervently hoped that she 
had never read "Thaddeus of Warsaw." There would 
be all the difference in the world between an elegant 
refugee Pole and a derelict of the Russian autocracy. 
Perhaps the best course to pursue would be to say 
nothing at all to her about the amazing discovery. 

Upon leaving Elevator Four Cutty said: "Bob, 
I've been followed by a sharp reporter. Sheer him 
off with any tale you please, and go home. Good- 
night." 

"I'll fix him, sir." 

Cutty took a bath, put on his lounging robe, and 
tiptoed to the threshold of the patient's room. The 
shaded light revealed the nurse asleep with a book on 
her knees. The patient's eyes were closed and his 
breathing was regular. He was coming along. 
Cutty decided to go to bed. 

Meantime, when the elevator touched the ground 
floor, the operator observed a prospective passenger. 

"Last trip, sir. You'll have to take the stairs." 

" WTiere'll I find the engineer who went up with you 
just now?" 

"The man I took up? Gone to bed, I guess." 

"What floor?" 

"Nothing doing, bo. I'm wise. You're the 



154 The Drums of Jeopardy 

i' 

fourth guy with a subpoena that's been after him. 
Nix." 

"I'm not a lawyer's clerk. I'm a reporter, and I 
want to ask him a few questions." 

"Gee! Has that Jane of his been hauling in the 
newspapers? Good-night! Toddle along, bo; there's 
nothing coming from me. Nix." 

"Would ten dollars make you talk?" asked the 
reporter, desperately. 

"Ye-ah about the Kaiser and his wood-sawing. 
By-by!" 

The operator, secretly enjoying the reporter's dis- 
comfiture, shut off the lights, slammed the elevator 
door to the latch, and walked to the revolving doors, 
to the tune of Garry Owen. 

The reporter did not follow him but sat down on 
the first step of the marble stairs to think, for there 
was a lot to think about. He sensed clearly enough 
that all this talk about street-railway strikes ^and 
subpoenas was rot. The elevator man and the engi- 
neer were in cahoots. There was a story here, but 
how to get to it was a puzzler. He had one chance in 
a hundred of landing it tip the mail clerk in the 
business office to keep an eye open for the man who 
called for "Double C " mail. 

Eventually, the man who did call for that mail 
presented a card to the mail clerk. At the bottom of 
this card was the name of the chief of the United 
States Secret Service. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 155 

"And say to the reporter who has probably asked 
you to watch hands off! Understand? Absolutely 
hands off!" 

When the reporter was informed he blew a kiss into 
the air and sought his city editor for his regular 
assignment. He understood, with the wisdom of 
his calling, that one didn't go whale fishing with 
trout rods. 



CHAPTER XV 

EARLY the next morning in a bedroom in a 
rooming house for aliens in Fifteenth Street, 
a man sat in a chair scanning the want 
columns of a newspaper. Occasionally he jotted 
down something on a slip of paper. This man's job 
was rather an unusual one. He hunted jobs for 
other men jobs hi steel mills, great factories, in the 
textile districts, the street-car lines, the shipping 
yards and docks, any place where there might be a 
grain or two of the powder of unrest and discontent. 
His business was to supply the human matches. 

No more parading the streets, no more haranguing 
from soap boxes. The proper place nowadays was in 
the yard or shop corners at noontime. A word or 
two dropped at the right moment; perhaps a printed 
pamphlet; little wedges wherever there were men 
who wanted something they neither earned nor 
deserved. Here and there across the land little flares, 
one running into the other, like wildfire on the 
plains, and then the upheaval. As in Russia, so 
now in Germany; later, England and France and 
here. The proletariat was gaming power. 

He was no fool, this individual. He knew his clay, 
the day labourer, with his parrotlike mentality. 

156 



The Drums of Jeopardy 157 

Though the victim of this peculiar potter absorbs 
sounds he doesn't often absorb meanings. But he 
takes these sounds and respouts them and convinces 
himself that he is some kind of Moses, headed for 
the promised land. Inflammable stuff. Hence, the 
strikes wfrich puzzle the average intelligent American 
citizen . What is it all about ? Nobody seems to know. 

Once upon a time men went on a strike because 
they were being cheated and abused. Now they 
strike on the principle that it is excellent policy al- 
ways to be demanding something; it keeps capitalism 
where it belongs on the ragged edge of things. No 
matter what they demand they never expect to give 
an equivalent; and a just cause isn't necessary. Thus 
the present-day agitator has orily one perplexity that 
of eluding the iron hand of the Department of Justice. 

Suddenly the man in the chair brought the news- 
paper close up and stared. He jumped to his feet, 
ran out and up the next flight of stairs. He stopped 
before a door and turned the knob a certain number 
of times. Presently the door opened the barest crack ; 
then it was swung wide enough to admit the visitor. 

"Look!" he whispered, indicating Cutty's adver- 
tisement. 

The occupant of the room snatched the newspaper 
and carried it to a window. 

Will purchase the drums of jeopardy at top price. No ques- 
tions asked. Address this office. 

DOUBLE C. 



158 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Very good. I might have missed it. We shall 
sell the accursed drums to this gentleman." 

"Sell them? But 

"Imbecile! What we must do is to find out who 
this man is. In the end he may lead us to him" 

"But it may be a trap!" 

"Leave that to me. You have work of your own 
to do, and you had best be about it. Do you not see 
beneath? Who but the man who harbours him 
would know about the drums? The man in the 
evening clothes. I was too far away to see his face. 
Get me all the morning newspapers. If the adver- 
tisement is in all of them I will send a letter to each. 
We lost the young woman yesterday. And nothing 
has been heard of Vladimir and Stemmler. Bad. I 
do not like this place. I move to the house to-night. 
My old friend Stefani may be lonesome. I dare not 
risk daylight. Some fool may have talked. To 
work! All of us have much to do to wake up the 
proletariat in this country of the blind. But the 
hour will come. Get me the newspapers." 

Karlov pushed his visitor from the room and 
locked and bolted the door. He stepped over to the 
window again and stared down at the clutter of 
pushcarts, drays, trucks, and human beings that tried 
to go forward and got forward only by moving side- 
ways or worming through temporary breaches, 
seldom directly the way of humanity. But there 
was no object lesson in this for Karlov, who was not 



The Drums of Jeopardy 159 

philosophical in the peculiar sense of one who was 
demanding a reason for everything and finding 
allegory and comparison and allusion in the ebb and 
flow of life. The philosophical is often misapplied to 
the stoical. Karlov was a stoic, not a philosopher, or 
he would not have been the victim of his present 
obsession. The idea of live and let live has never 
been the propaganda of the anarch. To the anarch 
the death of some body or the destruction of some 
thing is the cornerstone to his madhouse. 

Nothing would ever cure this man of his obsession 
the death of Hawksley and the possession of the 
emeralds. Moreover, there was the fanatical belief 
in his poor disordered brain that the accomplishment 
of these two projects would eventually assist in the 
liberation of mankind. Abnormally cunning in his 
methods of approach, he lacked those imaginative 
scales by which we weigh our projects and which we 
call logic. A child alone in a house with a box of 
matches; a dog on one side of Fifth Avenue that sees 
a dog on the other side, but not the automobiles 
inexorable logic irresistible force whizzing up and 
down the middle of that thoroughfare. It is not 
difficult to prophesy what is going to happen to that 
child, that dog. 

Karlov was at this moment reaching out toward a 
satisfactory solution relative to the disappearance of 
the gems. They had not been found on his enemy; 
they had not been found in the Gregor apartment; 



160 The Drums of Jeopardy 

the two men assigned to the task of securing them 
would not have risked certain death by trying to do 
a little bargaining on their own initiative. In the 
first instance they had come forth empty-handed. 
In the second instance that of intimidating the girl 
to disclose his whereabouts neither Vladimir nor 
Stemmler had returned. Sinister. The man in the 
dress suit again? 

Conceivably, then, the drums were in the 
possession of this girl; and she was holding them 
against the day when the fugitive would reclaim 
them. The advertisement was a snare. Very good. 
Two could play that game as well as one. 

The girl. Was it not always so? That breed! 
God's curse on them all! A crooked finger, and the 
women followed, hypnotized. The girl was away 
from the apartment the major part of the day; 50 it 
was in order to search her rooms. A pretty little 
fool. 

But where were they hiding him? Gall and worm- 
wood! That he should slip through Boris Karlov's 
fingers, after all these tortuous windings across the 
world! Patience. Sooner or later the girl would 
lead the way. Still, patience was a galling hobble 
when he had so little time, when even now they 
might be hunting him. Boris Karlov had left New 
York rather well known. 

He expanded under this thought. For the spiritual 
breath of life to the anarch is flattery, attention. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 161 

Had the newspapers ignored Trotzky's advent into 
Russia, had they omitted the daily chronicle of his 
activities, the Russian problem would not be so 
large as it is this day. Trotzky would have died of 
chagrin. 

He would answer this advertisement. Trap? 
He would set one himself. The man who eventually 
came to negotiate would be made a prisoner and 
forced to disclose the identity of the man who had 
interfered with the great projects of Boris Karlov, 
plenipotentiary extraordinary for the red govern- 
ment of Russia. 

Midtown, Cutty tapped his breakfast egg 
dubiously. Not that he speculated upon the fresh- 
ness of the egg. What troubled him was that 
advertisement. Last night, keyed high by his re- 
markable discovery of the identity of his guest and 
his cupidity relative to the emeralds, he had laid 
himself open. If he knew anything at all about the 
craft, that reporter would be digging in. Fortunately 
he had resources unsuspected by the reporter. Le- 
gitimately he could send a secret-service operative 
to collect the mail if Karlov decided to negotiate. 
Still within his rights, he could use another operative 
to conduct the negotiations. If in the end Karlov 
strayed into the net the use of the service for private 
ends would be justified. 

Lord, those green stones! Well, why not? Some- 
thing in the world worth a hazard. What had he in 



162 The Drums of Jeopardy 

life but this second grand passion? There shot into 
his mind obliquely an irrelevant question. Suppos- 
ing, in the old days, he had proceeded to reach for 
Molly as he was now reaching for the emeralds a bit 
lawlessly? After all these years, to have such a 
thought strike him! Hadn't he stepped aside 
meekly for Conover? Hadn't he observed and en- 
vied Conover's dazzling assault? Supposing Molly 
had been wavering, and this method of attack 
had decided her? Never to have thought of that 
before! What did a woman want? A love storm, 
and then an endless after-calm. And it had taken 
him twenty-odd years to make this discovery. 

Fact. He had never been shy of women. He 
had somehow preferred to play comrade instead of 
gallant; and all the women had taken advantage of 
that, used him callously to pair with old maids, faded 
wives, and homely debutantes. 

What impellent was driving him toward these 
introspections? Kitty, Molly's girl. Each time he 
saw her or thought of her the uninvited ghost of her 
mother. Any other man upon seeing Kitty or 
thinking about her would have jumped into the 
future from the spring of a dream. The disparity in 
years would not have mattered. It was all nonsense, 
of course. But for his dropping into the office and 
casually picking up the thread of his acquaintance 
with Kitty, Molly the memory of her would have 
gone on dimming. Actions, tremendous and world- 



The Drums of Jeopardy 163 

wide, had set his vision toward the future; he had 
been too busy to waste time in retrospection and 
introspection. Thus, instead of a gently rising and 
falling tide, healthily recurrent, a flood of mixed 
longings that was swirling him into uncertain depths. 
Those emeralds had bobbed up just in time. The 
chase would serve to pull him out of this bog. 

He heard a footstep and looked up. The nurse 
was beckoning to him. 

"What is it?" 

"He's awake, and there is sanity in his eyes." 

"Great! Has he talked?" 

"No. The awakening happened just this mo- 
ment, and I came to you. You never can tell about 
blows on the skull or brain fever never any two 
cases alike." 

Cutty threw down his napkin and accompanied the 
nurse to the bedside. The glance of the patient 
trailed from Cutty to the nurse and back. 

"Don't talk," said Cutty. "Don't askj any 
questions. Take it easy until later in the day. 
You are hi the hands of persons who wish you well. 
Eat what the nurse gives you. When the right time 
comes we'll tell you all about ourselves. You've 
been robbed and beaten. But the men who did it 
are under arrest." 

"One question," said the patient, weakly. 

"Well, just one." 

"A girl who gave me something to eat?" 



164 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Yes. She fed you, and later probably saved 
your life." 

"Thanks." Hawksley closed his eyes. 

Cutty and the nurse watched him interestedly for a 
few minutes; but as he did not stir again the nurse 
took up her temperature sheet and Cutty returned to 
his eggs. Was there a girl? No question about the 
emeralds, no interest in the day and the hour. Was 
there a girl? The last person he had seen, Kitty; 
the first question, after coming into the light: Had 
he seen her? Then and there Cutty knew that 
when he died he would carry into the Beyond, 
of all his earthly possessions a chuckle. Human 
beings ! 

The yarn that reporter had missed by a hair 
front page, eight-column head! But he had missed 
it, and that was the main thing. The poor devil! 
Beaten and without a sou marque in his pockets, his 
trail was likely to be crowded without the assistance 
of any newspaper publicity. But what a yarn! 
What a whale of a yarn ! 

In his fevered flights Hawksley had spoken of 
having paid Kitty for that meal. 

Kitty had said nothing about it. Supposing 

"Telephone, sair," announced the Jap. "Lady." 

Molly's girl! Cutty sprinted to the telephone. 
"Hello! That you, Kitty?" 

"Yes. How is Johnny Two-Hawks?" 

"Back to earth." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 165 

"When can I see him? I'm just crazy to know 
what the story is!" 

"Say the third or fourth day from this. We'll 
have him shaved and sitting up then." 

"Has he talked?" 

"Not permitted. Still determined to stay the 
run of your lease?" Cutty heard a laugh. "All 
right. Only I hope you will never have cause to 
regret this decision." 

"Fiddlesticks! Ah* I've got to do in danger is to 
press a button, and presto! here's Bernini." 

"Kitty, did Hawksley pay you for that meal?" 

"Good heavens, no! What makes you ask that?" 

"In his delirium he spoke of having paid you. I 
didn't know." Cutty's heart began to rap against 
his ribs. Supposing, after all, Karlov hadn't the 
stones? Supposing Hawksley had hidden them 
somewhere in Kitty's kitchen? 

"Anything about Gregor?" 

"No. Remember, you're to call me up twice a 
day and report the news. Don't go out nights if you 
can avoid it." 

"I'll be good," Kitty agreed. "And now I must 
hie me to the job. Imagine, Cutty! writing 
personalities about stage folks and gabfesting with 
Burlingame and all the while my brain boiling with 
this affair! The city room will kill me, Cutty, if it 
ever finds out that I held back such a yarn. But it 
wouldn't be fair to Johnny Two-Hawks. Cutty, did 



166 The Drums of Jeopardy 

you know that your wonderful drums of jeopardy 
are here in New York?'* 

"What? "barked Cutty. 

" Somebody is offering to buy them. There was an 
advertisement in the paper this morning. Cutty?" 

"Yes." 

"The first problem in arithmetic is two and two 
make four. By-by ! " 

Dizzily Cutty hung up the receiver. He had not 
reckoned on the possibility of Kitty seeing that 
damfool advertisement. Two and two made four; 
and four and four made eight; so on indefinitely. 
That is to say, Kitty already had a glimmer of the 
startling truth. The initial misstep on his part had 
been made upon her pronouncement of the name 
Stefani Gregor. He hadn't been able to control his 
surprise. And yesterday, having frankly admitted 
that he knew Gregor, all that was needed to complete 
the circle was that advertisement. Cutty tore his 
hair, literally. The very door he hoped she might 
overlook he had thrown open to her. 

Thaddeus of Warsaw. But it should not be. He 
would continue to offer a haven to that chap; but no 
nonsense. None of that sinister and unfortunate 
blood should meddle with Kitty Conover's happiness. 
Her self-appointed guardian would attend to that. 

He realized that his attitude was rather inexplic- 
able; but there were some adventures which hyp- 
notized women; and one of this sort was now unfold' 



The Drums of Jeopardy 167 

ing for Kitty. That she had her share of common 
sense was negligible in face of the facts that she 
was imaginative and romantical and adventuresome, 
and that for the first time she was riding one of the 
great middle currents in human events. She was 
Molly's girl; Cutty was going to look out for her. 

Mighty odd that this fear for her should have 
sprung into being that night, quite illogically. 
Prescience? He could not say. Perhaps it was a 
borrowed instinct fatherly; the same instinct that 
would have stirred her father into action the 
protection of that dearest to him. 

If he told her who Hawksley really was, that 
would intrigue her. If he made a mystery of the 
affair, that, too, would intrigue her. And there you 
were, 'twixt the devil and the deep blue sea. Hang 
it, what evil luck had stirred him to tell her about 
those emeralds? Already she was building a story 
to satisfy her dramatic fancy. Two and two made 
four which signified that she was her father's 
daughter, that she would not rest until she had 
explored every corner of this dark room. Wanting 
to keep her out of it, and then dragging her into it 
through his cupidity. Devil take those emeralds! 
Always the same; trouble wherever they were. 

The real danger would rise during the convales- 
cence. Kitty would be contriving to drop in fre- 
quently; not to see Hawksley especially, but her 
initial success in playing hide and seek with secret 



168 The Drums of Jeopardy 

agents, friendly and otherwise, had tickled her fancy. 
For a while it would be an exciting game; then it 
might become only a means to an end. Well, it 
should not be. 

Was there a girl ! Already Hawksley had recorded 
her beauty. Very well; the first sign of sentimental 
nonsense, and out he should go, Karlov or no Karlov. 
Kitty wasn't going to know any hurt in this affair. 
That much was decided. 

Cutty stormed into his study, growling audibly. 
He filled a pipe and smoked savagely. Another side, 
Kitty's entrance into the drama promised to spoil his 
own fun; he would have to play two games instead of 
one. A fine muddle! 

He: came to a stand before one of the windows and 
saw the glory of the morning flashing from the 
myriad spires and towers and roofs, and wondered 
why artists bothered about cows in pastures. 

Touching his knees was an antique Florentine 
bridal chest, with exquisite carving and massive lock. 
He threw back the lid and disclosed a miscellany 
never seen by any eye save his own. It was all the 
garret he had. He dug into it and at length resur- 
rected the photograph of a woman whose face was 
both roguish and beautiful. He sat on the floor a la 
Turk and studied the face, his own tender and wistful. 
No resemblance to Kitty except in the eyes. How 
often he had gone to her with the question burning 
his lips, only to carry it away unspoken! He turned 



Tfie Drums of Jeopardy 169 

over the photograph and read: "To the nicest man I 
know. With love from Molly." With love. And 
he had stepped aside for Tommy Conover! 

By George! He dropped the photograph into the 
chest, let down the lid, and rose to his feet. Not a 
bad idea, that. To intrigue Kitty himself, to smother 
her with attentions and gallantries, to give her out of 
his wide experience, and to play the game until this 
intruder was on his way elsewhere. 

He could do it; and he based his assurance upon 
his experiences and observations. Never a squire of 
dames, he knew the part. He had played the game 
occasionally hi the capitals of Europe when there had 
been some information he had particularly desired. 
Clever, scheming women, too. A clever, passably 
good-looking elderly man could make himself pe- 
culiarly attractive to young women and women in 
the thirties. Dazzlement for the young; the man 
who knew all about life, the trivial little courtesies 
a younger man generally forgot; the moving of chairs, 
the holding of wraps; tie gray hairs which served to 
invite trust and confidence, which lulled the eternal 
feminine fear of the male. To the older women, no 
callow youth but a man of discernment, discretion, 
wit and fancy and daring, who remembered birth- 
days husbands forgot, who was always round when 
wanted. 

There was no vanity back of these premises. Cutty 
was merely reaching about for an expedient to 



170 The Drums of Jeopardy 

thwart what to his anticipatory mind promised to be 
an inevitability. Of course the glamour would not 
last; it never did, but he felt he could sustain it until 
yonder chap was off and away. 

That evening at five-thirty Kitty received a box 
of beautiful roses, with Cutty's card. 

"Oh, the lovely things!" she cried. 

She kissed them and set them in a big copper jug, 
arranged and rearranged them for the simple pleasure 
it afforded her. What a dear man this Cutty was, 
to have thought of her in this fashion! Her father's 
friend, her mother's, and now hers; she had inherited 
him. This thought caused her to smile, but there 
were tears in her eyes. A garden some day to play 
in, this mad city far away, a home of her own; would 
it ever happen? 

The bell rang. She wasn't going to like this 
caller for taking her away from these roses, the first 
she had received in a long time roses she could keep 
and not toss out the window. For it must not be 
understood that Kitty was never besieged. 

Outside stood a well-dressed gentleman, older 
than Cutty, with shrewd, mquiring gray eyes and a 
face with strong salients. 

"Pardon me, but I am looking for a man by the 
name of Stephen Gregory. I was referred by the 
janitor to you. You are Miss Conover?" 

"Yes," answered Kitty. "Will you come in?" 
She ushered the stranger into the living room and 



The Drums of Jeopardy 171 

indicated a chair. " Please excuse me for a moment.'' 
Kitty went into her bedroom and touched the dan- 
ger button, which would summon Bernini. She 
wanted her watchdog to see the visitor. [She re- 
turned to the living room. "What is it you wish 
to know?" 

"Where I may find this Gregory." 

"That nobody seems able to answer. He was 
carried away from here in an ambulance; but we 
have been unable to locate the hospital. If you will 
leave your name 

"That is not necessary. I am out of bounds, you 
might say, and I'd rather my name should be left out 
of the affair, which is rather peculiar." 

"In what way?" 

"I am only an agent, and am not at liberty to 
speak. Could you describe Gregory?" 

"Then he is a stranger to you?" 

"Absolutely." 

Kitty described Gregor deliberately and at length. 
It struck her that the visitor was becoming bored, 
though he nodded at times. She was glad to hear 
Bernini's ring. She excused herself to admit the 
Italian. 

"A false alarm," she whispered. "Someone in- 
quiring for Gregor. I thought it might be well for 
you to see him." 

"I'll work the radiator stuff." 

"Very well." 



172 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Bernini went into the living room and fussed over 
the steam cock of the radiator. 

"Nothing the matter with it, miss. Just stuck." 

"Sorry to have troubled you," said the stranger, 
rising and picking up his hat. 

Bernini went down to the basement, obfuscated; 
for he knew the visitor. He was one of the greatest 
bankers in New York that is to say, in America! 
Asking questions about Stefani Gregor! 



CHAPTER XVI 

A "OUT nine o'clock that same night a certain 
rich man, having established himself com- 
fortably under the reading lamp, a fine book 
in his hands and a fine after-dinner cigar between his 
teeth, was exceedingly resentful when his butler 
knocked, entered, and presented a card. 

"My orders were that I was not at home to any 
one." 

"Yes, sir. But he said you would see him because 
he came to see you regarding a Mr. Gregory." 

"What?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Damn these newspapers! . . . Wait, wait!" 
the banker called, for the butler was starting for the 
door to carry the anathema to the appointed head. 
"Bring him in. He's a big bug, and I can't afford to 
affront him." 

"Yes, sir" with the colourless tone of a perfect 
servant. 

When the visitor entered he stopped just beyond 
the threshold. He remained there even after the 
butler closed the door. Blue eye and gray clashed; 
two masters of fence who had executed the same 
stroke. The banker laughed and Cutty smiled. 

173 



174 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"I suppose/* said the banker, "you and I ought 
to sign an armistice, too." 

"Agreed." 

"And you've always been rather a puzzle to me. 
A rich man, a gentleman, and yet sticking to the 
newspaper game." 

"And you're a puzzle to me, too. A rich man, a 
gentleman, and yet sticking to the banking game." 

"What the devil was our row about?" 

"Can't quite recall." 

"Whatever it was it was the way you went at it." 

"A reform was never yet accomplished by purring 
and pussyfooting," said Cutty. 

"Come over and sit down. Now, how the devil 
did you find out about this Gregory affair?" The 
banker held out his hand, which Cutty grasped with 
honest pressure. "If you are here in the capacity 
of a newspaper man, not a word out of me. Have a 
cigar?" 

"I never smoke anything but pipes that ruin 
curtains. You should have given your name to Miss 
Conover." 

"I was under promise not to explain my business. 
But before we proceed, an answer. Newspaper?" 

"No. I represent the Department of Justice. 
And we'll get along easier when I add that I possess 
rather unlimited powers under that head. How did 
you happen to stumble into this affair?" 

" Through Captain Rathbone, my prospective son- 



The Drums of Jeopardy 175 

in-law, who is in Coblenz. A cable arrived this morn- 
ing, instructing me to proceed precisely in the manner 
I did. Rathbone is an intimate friend of the man 
I was actually seeking. The apartment of this man 
Gregory was mentioned to Rathbone hi a cable as a 
possible temporary abiding place. What do you 
want to know?" 

"Whether or not he is undesirable." 

"Decidedly, I should say, desirable." 

"You make that statement as an American 
citizen?" 

"I do. I make it unreservedly because my future 
son-in-law is rather a difficult man to make friends 
with. I am acting merely as Rathbone's agent. On 
the other hand, I should be a cheerful liar if I told 
you I wasn't interested. What do you know?" 

"Everything," answered Cutty, quietly. 

"You know where this young man is?" 

"At this moment he is in my apartment, rather 
seriously battered and absolutely penniless." 

"Well, I'll be tinker-dammed! You know who 
he is, of course?" 

"Yes. And I want all your information so that 
I may guide my future actions accordingly. If he is 
really undesirable he shall be deported the moment 
he can stand on his two feet." 

The banker pyramided his fingers, rather pleased 
to learn that he could astonish this interesting beg- 
gar. "He has on account at my bank half a million 



176 The Drums of Jeopardy 

dollars. Originally he had eight hundred thousand. 
The three hundred thousand, under cable orders 
from Yokohama, was transferred to our branch in 
San Francisco. This was withdrawn about two 
weeks ago. How does that strike you?" 

"All in a heap," confessed Cutty. "When was 
this fund established with you?" 

"Shortly before Kerensky's government blew up. 
The funds were in our London bank. There was, of 
course, a lot of red tape, excessive charges in ex- 
change, and all that. Anyhow, about eight hundred 
thousand arrived." 

"What brought him to America? Why didn't he 
go to England? That would have been the safest 
haven." 

"I can explain that. He intends to become an 
American citizen. Some time ago he became the 
owner of a fine cattle ranch in Montana." 

"Well, I'll be tinker-dammed, too!" exploded 
Cutty. 

"A young man with these ideas in his head ought 
eventually to become a first-rate citizen. What do 
you say?" 

"I am considerably relieved. His forbears, the 
blood " 

"His mother was a healthy Italian peasant a 
famous singer in her tune. His fortune, I take it, 
was his inheritance from her. She made a fortune 
singing in the capitals of Europe and speculating from 



The Drums of Jeopardy 177 

\\ 
time to time. She sent the boy, at the age of ten, to 

England. Afraid of the home influence. He re- 
mained there, under the name of Hawksley, for some- 
thing like fourteen years, under the guardianship of 
this fellow Gregory. Of Gregory I know positively 
nothing. The young fellow is, to all purposes, 
methods of living, points of view, an Englishman. 
Rathbone, who was educated at Oxford, met hirq 
there and they shared quarters. But it was only 
in recent years that he learned the identity of his 
friend. In 1914 the young fellow returned to Russia. 
Military obligations. That's all I know. Mighty 
interesting, though." 

"I am much obliged to you. The white elephant 
becomes a normal drab pachyderm," said Cutty. 

"Still something of an elephant on your hands. I 
see. Bring him here if you wish." 

"And sic the Bolshevik at your door." 

"That's so. You spoke of his having been beaten 
and robbed. Bolshevik?" 

"Yes. An old line of reasoning first put into effect 
by Oliver Cromwell. The axe." 

"The poor devil!" 

"Fact. I'm sorry for him, but I wish he would 
blow away conveniently." 

"Rathbone says he's handsome, gay, but decent, 
considering. Humanity is being knocked about some. 
The hour has come for our lawyers to go back to their 
offices. Politics must step aside for business. We 



178 The Drums of Jeopardy 

ought to hang up signs in every state capitol in the? 
country: 'Men Wanted Specialists.' A steel man 
from Pittsburgh, a mining man from Idaho, a ship- 
owner from Boston, a meat packer from Omaha, a 
gram man from Chicago. What the devil do law- 
yers know about these things the energies that make 
the wheels of this country go round? By the way, 
that Miss Conover was a remarkably pretty girl. 
She seemed to be a bit suspicious of me." 

"Good reasons. That chap went to Gregor's 
Gregor is his name and was beaten, robbed, and left 
for dead. She saved his life." 

"Good Lord! Does she know?" 

"No. And what's more, I don't want her to. I 
am practically her guardian." 

"Then you ought to get her out of that roost." 

"Hang it, I can't get her to leave. I'm not 
legally her guardian; self-appointed. But she has 
agreed to leave in May." 

"I'm glad you dropped in. Command me in any 
way you please." 

"That's very good of you, considering." 

"The war is over. We'd be a fine pair of fools to 
let an ancient grudge go on. They tell me you've 
a wonderful apartment on top of that skyscraper of 
yours." 

"Will you come to dinner some night?" 

"Any time you say. I should like to bring my 
daughter." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 179 

" She doesn't know?" 

"No. Heard of Hawksley; thinks he's English." 

"I am certainly agreeable." This would be a 
distinct advantage to Kitty. "I see you have a good 
book there. I'll take myself off." 

In the Avenue Cutty loaded his pipe. He struck 
a match on the flagstone and cupped it over the bowl 
of his pipe, thereby throwing his picturesque count- 
enance into ruddy relief. Opposite emotions filled 
the hearts of the two men watching him in one, 
chagrin; in the other, exultation. 

Cutty decided to walk downtown, the night being 
fine. He set his foot to a long, swinging stride. An 
elephant on his hands, truly. Poor devil, for a fact! 
Nobody wanted him, not even those who wished 
him well. Wanted to become an American citizen. 
He would have been tolerably safe in England. 
Here he would never be free of danger. A ranch. 
The beggar would have a chance out there in the 
West. The anarchist and the Bolshevik were town 
cooties. His one chance, actually. The poor devil! 
Kitty had the right idea. It was a mighty fine thing, 
these times, to be a citizen under the protection of the 
American doctrine. 

Three hundred thousand! And Karlov had got 
that along with the drums. The devil's own for 
luck! The fool would be able to start some fine 
ructions with all that capital behind him. 

Episodes in the night. 



180 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Kitty dreamed of wonderful rose gardens, endless 
and changing; but strive as she would she could not 
find Cutty anywhere, which worried her, even in her 
dream. 

The nurse heard the patient utter a single word 
several times before he fell asleep. 

"What is it?" she asked. 

"Fan!" And he smiled. 

She hunted for the palm leaf, but with a slight 
gesture he signified that that was not what he wanted. 

Cutty played solitaire with his chrysoprase until 
the telephone broke in upon his reveries. What he 
heard over the wire disturbed him greatly. 

"You were followed from the Avenue to the 
apartment." 

"How do you know?" 

"I am Henderson. You assigned me to watch the 
apartment in Eightieth through the night. I fol- 
lowed the man who followed you. He saw your face 
when you lit the pipe. When the banker left Miss 
Conover he was followed home. That established 
him in the affair. The follower hung round, and so 
did I. You appeared. He took a chance shot in 
the dark. Not sure, but doing a bit of clever guess- 
ing." 

"You still followed him?" 

"Yes." 

"Where did he wind up?" 

"A house in the warehouse district. Vacant 



The Drums of Jeopardy 181 

warehouses on each side. Some new nest. I can 
lead you to it, sir, any time you wish." 

"Thanks." 

Cutty pushed aside the telephone and returned to 
his green stones. After all, why worry? It was un- 
fortunate, of course, but the apartment was more in- 
accessible than the top of the Matterhorn. Still, 
they might discover what his real business was and 
interfere seriously with his future work on the other 
side. A ruin in the warehouse district? A good 
place to look for Stef ani Gregor if he were still alive. 

He was. And in his dark room he cried piteously 
for water water water! 



CHAPTER XVII 

A MARCH day, sunny and cloudless, with fresh, 
bracing winds. Green things pushed up 
from the soil; an eternal something was hap- 
pening to the tips of the tree branches; an eternal 
something was happening in young hearts. A 
robin shook the dust of travel from his wings and 
bathed publicly in a park basin. 

Here and there under the ten thousand roofs of 
the great city poets were busy with inkpots, trying 
to say an old thing in a new way. Woe to the pinched 
soul that did not expand this day, for it was spring. 
Expansion! Nature perhaps she was relenting a 
little, perhaps she saw that humanity was sliding 
down the scale, withering, and a bit of extra sunshine 
would serve to check the descension and breed a little 
optimism. 

Cutty's study. The sunlight, thrown westward, 
turned windows and roofs and towers into incom- 
parable bijoux. The double reflection cast a white 
light into the room, lifting out the blue and old-rose 
tints of the Ispahan rug. 

Cutty shifted the chrysoprase, irresolutely for him. 
A dozen problems, and it was mighty hard to decide 
which to tackle first. Principally there was Kitty. 

182 



The Drums of Jeopardy 183 

He had not seen her in four days, deeming it advis- 
able for her not to call for the present. The Bolshe- 
vik agent who had followed him from the banker's 
might decide, without the aid of some connecting 
episode, "that he had wasted his time. 

It did not matter that Kitty herself was no longer 
watched and followed from her home to the office, 
from the office home. Was Karlov afraid or had he 
some new trick up his sleeve? It was not possible 
that he had given up Hawksley. He was probably 
planning an attack from some unexpected angle. To 
be sure that Karlov would not find reason to associate 
him with Kitty, Cutty had remained indoors during 
the daytime and gone forth at night in his dungarees. 

Problem Two was quite as formidable. The secret 
agent who had passed as a negotiator for the drums 
of jeopardy had disappeared. That had sinister 
significance. Karlov did not intend to sell the 
drums; merely wanted precise information regarding 
the man who had advertised for them. If the secret- 
service man weakened under torture, Cutty recog- 
nized that his own usefulness would be at an end. 
He would have to step aside and let the great cur- 
rents sweep on without him. In that event these 
fifty-two years would pile upon his head, full meas- 
ure; for the only thing that kept him vigorous was 
action, interest. Without some great incentive he 
would shrivel up and blow away like some ex- 
humed mummy. 



184 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Problem Three. How the deuce was he going to 
fascinate Kitty if he couldn't see her? But there 
was a bit of silver lining here. If he couldn't see her, 
what chance had Hawksley? The whole sense and 
prompting of this problem was to keep Kitty and 
Hawksley apart. How this was accomplished was 
of no vital importance. Problem Three, then, hung 
fire for the present. Funny, how this idea stuck in 
his head, that Hawksley was a menace to Kitty. One 
of those fool ideas, probably, but worth trying out. 

Problem Four. That night, all on his own, he 
would make an attempt to enter that Id house 
sandwiched between the two vacant warehouses. 
Through pressure of authority he had obtained keys 
to both warehouses. There would be a trap on the 
roof of that house. Doubtless it would be covered 
with tin; fairly impregnable if latched below. But 
he could find out. From the third-floor windows of 
either warehouse the drop was not more than six 
feet. If anywhere in town poor old Stefani Gregor 
would be in one of those rooms. But to storm the 
house frontaUy, without being absolutely sure, would 
be folly. Gregor would be killed. The house was 
in fact an insane asylum, occupied by super-insane 
men. Warned, they were capable of bio whig the 
house to kingdom come, themselves with it. 

Problem Five was a mere vanishing point. He 
doubted if he would ever see those emeralds. What 
an infernal pity! 



The Drums of Jeopardy 185 

He built a coronet and leaned back, a wisp of 
smoke darting up from the bowl of his pipe. 

"I say, you know, but that's a ripping game to 
play!" drawled a tired voice over his shoulder. 

Cutty turned his head, to behold Hawksley, 
shaven, pale, and handsome, wrapped in a bed quilt 
and swaying slightly. 

"What the deuce are you doing out of your 
room?" growled Cutty, but with the growl of a 
friendly dog. 

Hawksley dropped into a chair weakly. "End of 
my rope. Got to talk to someone. Go dotty, else. 
Questions. Skull aches with 'em. Want to know 
whether this is a foretaste of the life I have a right to 
live or the beginning of death. Be a good sport, 
and let's have it out." 

"What is it you wish to know?" asked Cutty, 
gently. The poor beggar! 

"Where I am. Who you are. What happened 
to me. What is going to happen to me," rather 
breathlessly. "Don't want any more suspense. 
Don't want to look over my shoulder any more. 
Straight ahead. All the cards on the table, 
please." 

Cutty rose and pushed the invalid's chair to a 
window and drew another up beside it. 

"My word, the top of the world! Bally odd 
roost." 

"You will find it safer here than you would on the 



186 The Drums of Jeopardy 

shores of Kaspiiskoi More," replied Cutty, gravely. 
"The Caspian wouldn't be a healthy place for you 
now." 

With wide eyes Hawksley stared across the shining, 
wavering roofs. A pause. "What do you know?" 
he asked, faintly. 

"Everything. But wait!" Cutty fetched one of 
the photographs and laid it upon the young man's 
knees. "Know who this is Two-Hawks?" 

A strained, tense gesture as Hawksley seized the 
photograph; then his chin sank slowly to his chest. 
A moment later Cutty was profoundly astonished to 
see something sparkle on its way down the bed quilt. 
Tears! 

"I'm sorry!" cried Cutty, troubled and embar- 
rassed. "I'm terribly sorry! I should have had the 
decency to wait a day or two." 

"On the contrary, thank you!" Hawksley flung 
up his head. "Nothing in all God's muddled world 
could be more timely the face of my mother! I am 
not ashamed of these tears. I am not afraid to die. 
I am not even afraid to live. But all the things I 
loved the familiar earth, the human beings, my 
dog gone. I am alone." 

"I'm sorry," repeated Cutty, a bit choked up. 
This was honest misery and it affected him deeply. 
He felt himself singularly drawn. 

"I want to live. Because I am young? No. I 
want to prove to the shades of those who loved me 



The Drums of Jeopardy 187 

that I am fit to go on. So my identity is known to 
you? " dejectedly. 

"Yes. You wish me to forget what I know?" 

" Will you? "eagerly . " Will you forget that I am 
anything but a naked, friendless human being?" 

"Yes. But your enemies know." 

"I rather fancy they will keep the truth to them- 
selves. Let them publish my identity, and a hundred 
havens would be offered. Your Government would 
protect me." 

"It is doing so now, indirectly. But why do you 
not want it known?" 

"Freedom! Would I have it if known? Could 
I trust anybody? Would it not be essentially the 
old life in a new land? I want a new life in a new 
land. I want to be born again. I want to be what 
you patently are, an American. That is why I risked 
life a hundred times in coming all these miles, why I 
sit in this chair before you, with the room rocking 
because they battered in my head. I do not offer a 
human wreck, an illiterate mind, in exchange for 
citizenship. I bring a tolerably decetit manhood. 
Try me! Always I have admired you people. Al- 
ways we Russians have. But there is no Russia 
now that I can ever return to!" Hawksley's head 
drooped again and his bloodshot eyes closed. 

Cutty sensed confusion, indecision; all his deduc- 
tions were upset in the face of this strange appeal. 
Russian, born of an Italian mother and speaking 



188 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Oxford English as if it were his birthright; and want- 
ing citizenship ! Wasn't ashamed of his tears; wasn't 
afraid to die or to live! Cutty searched quickly 
for a new handhold to his antagonism, but he found 
only straws. He was honest enough to realize that 
he had built this antagonism upon a want, a desire; 
there was no foundation for it. Downright likeable. 
A chap who had gone through so much, who was in 
such a pitiable condition, would not have the wit 
to manufacture character, camouflage his soul. 

"Hang it!" he said, briskly. "You shall have 
your chance. Talk like that will carry a man any- 
where hi this country. You shall stay here until you 
are strong again. Then some night I'll put you on 
your train for Montana. You want to ask questions. 
I'll save you the trouble by telling you what I know." 

But his narrative contained no mention of the 
emeralds. Why? A bit conscience-stricken because, 
if he could, he was going to rob his guest on the basis 
that findings is keepings? Cutty wasn't ready to 
analyze the omission. Perhaps he wanted Hawksley 
himself to inquire about the stones; test him out. 
If he asked frankly that would signify that he had 
brought the stones in honestly, paid his obligations 
to the Customs. Otherwise, smuggling; and in that 
event conscience wouldn't matter; the emeralds be- 
came a game anybody could take a hand in any- 
body who considered the United States Customs an 
infringement upon human rights. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 189 

What a devil of a call those stones had for him! 
Did they mean anything to Hawksley aside from 
their intrinsic value? But for the nebulous idea, 
originally, that the emeralds were mixed up some- 
where in this adventure, Cutty knew that he would 
have sent Hawksley to a hospital, left him to his fate, 
and never known who he was. 

All through the narration Hawksley listened mo- 
tionless, with his eyes closed, possibly to keep the 
wavering instability of the walls from interfering 
with his assimilation of this astonishing series of 
fact. 

"Found you insensible on the floor," concluded 
Cutty, "hoisted you to my shoulders, took you to the 
street and here you are!" 

Hawksley opened his eyes. "I say, you know, 
what a devil of an old Sherlock you must be! And 
you carried me on your shoulders across that fire 
escape? Ripping! When I stepped back into that 
room I heard a rushing sound. I knew! But I 
didn't have the least chance. . . . You and that 
bully girl!" 

Cutty swore under his breath. He had taken 
particular pains to avoid mentioning Kitty; and 
here, first off, the fat was in the fire. He remem- 
bered now that he had told Hawksley that Kitty 
had saved his life. Fortunately, the chap wasn't 
keen enough with that banged-up head of his to apply 
reason to the omission. 



190 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Saved my life. Suppose she doesn't want me to 
know." 

Cutty jumped at this. "Doesn't care to be 
mixed up with the Bolshevik end of it. Besides, 
she doesn't know who you are." 

"The fewer that know the better. But I'll al- 
ways remember her kindness and that bally pistol 
with the fan in it. But you? Why did you bother 
to bring me up here?" 

"Couldn't decently leave you where Karlov could 
get to you again." 

"Is Stefani Gregor dead?" 

"Don't know; probably not. But we are hunting 
for him." Cutty had not explained his interest in 
Gregor. Those plaguey stones again. They were 
demoralizing him. Loot. 

"You spoke of Karlov. Who is he?" 

"Why, the man who followed you across half the 
world." 

"There were many. What is he like?" 

"A gorilla." 

" Ah !' ' Hawksley became galvanized and extended 
his fists. "God let me live long enough to put my 
hands on him! I had the chance the other day to 
blot out his face with my boots! But I couldn't do 
it! I couldn't do it!" He sagged in the chair. 
"No, no! Just a bit groggy. All right in a mo- 
ment." 

"By the Lord Harry, I'll see you through. Now 



The Drums of Jeopardy 191 

buck up. Hear that?" cried Cutty, throwing up a 
window. 

"Music." 

"Look through that street there. See the glint 
of bayonets? American soldiers, marching up Fifth 
Avenue, thousands of them, freemen who broke the 
vaunted Hindenburg Line. God bless 'em! Ameri- 
cans, every mother's son of 'em; who went away 
laughing, who returned laughing, who will go back 
to their jobs laughing. The ability to laugh, that's 
America. Do you know how to laugh?" 

"I used to. I'm jolly weak just now. But I'll 
grin if you want me to." And Hawksley grinned. 

"That's the way. A grin in this country will take 
you quite as far. All right. In five years you'll 
be voting. I'll see to that. Now back to bed with 
you, and no more leaving it until the nurse says so. 
What you need is rest." 

Cutty sent a call to the nurse, who was standing 
undecidedly in the doorway; and together they put 
the- derelict back to bed. Then Cutty fetched the 
photograph and set it on top of the dresser, where 
Hawksley could see it. 

"Now, no more gallivanting about." 

"I promise, old top. This bed is a little bit of all 
right. I say!" 

"What?" 

"How long am I to be here?" 

"If you're good, two weeks," interposed the nurse. 



192 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Two weeks? I say, would you mind doing me a 
trifling favour? I'd like a violin to amuse myself 
with." 

" A fiddle? I don't know a thing about 'em except 
that they sound good." Cutty pulled at his chin. 

"Whatever it costs I'll reimburse you the day 
I'm up." 

"All right. I'll bring you a bundle of them, and 
you can do your own selecting." 

Out in the corridor the nurse said: "I couldn't 
hold him. But he'll be easier now that he's got the 
questions off his mind. He will have to be humoured 
a lot. That's one of the characteristics of head 
wounds." 

"What do you think of him?" 

"He seems to be gentle and patient; and I imagine 
he's hard to resist when he wants anything. Winning, 
you'd call it. I suppose I mustn't ask who he really 
is?" 

"No. Poor devil. The fewer that know, the 
better. I'll be home round three." 

Once in the street, Cutty was besieged suddenly 
with the irresistible desire to mingle with the crowd 
over in the Avenue, to hear the military bands, the 
shouts, to witness the gamut of emotions which he 
knew would attend this epochal day. Of course he 
would view it all from the aloof vantage of the 
historian, and store away commentaries against 
future needs. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 193 

And what a crowd it was! He was elbowed and 
pushed, jostled and trod on, carried into the surges, 
relegated to the eddies; and always the metallic tap- 
tap of steel-shod boots on the asphalt, the bayonets 
throwing back the radiant sunshine in sharp, clear 
flashes. The keen, joyous faces of those boys. God, 
to be young like that! To have come through that 
hell on earth with the ability still to smile! Cutty 
felt the tears running down his cheeks. Instinctively 
he knew that this was to be his last thrill of this order. 
He was fifty-two. 

"Quit your crowding there!" barked a voice under 
his chin. 

"Sorry, but it's those behind me," said Cutty, 
looking down into a florid countenance with a rag- 
gedy gray moustache and a pair of blue eyes that 
were blinking. 

"I'm so damned short I can't see anything!" 

"Neither can I." 

"You could if you wiped your eyes." 

"You're crying yourself," declared Cutty. 

"Blinking jackass! Got anybody out there?" 

"All of 'em." 

"I get you, old son of a gun! No flesh and blood, 
but they're ours all the same. Couple of old fools; 
huh?" 

"Sure pop! What right have two old codgers got 
here, anyhow? What brought you out?" 

"What brought you?" 



194 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Same thing.'* 

"Damn it! If I could only see something!" 

Cutty put his hands upon the shoulders of this 
chance acquaintance and propelled him toward the 
curb. There were cries of protest, curses, catcalls, 
but Cutty bored on ahead until he got his man where 
he could see the tin hats, the bayonets, and the col- 
ours; and thus they stood for a full hour. Each time 
the flag went by the little man yanked off his derby 
and turned truculently to see that Cutty did the same. 

"Say," he said as they finally dropped back, "I'd 
offer to buy a drink, only it sounds flat." 

"And it would taste flat after a mighty wine like 
this," replied Cutty. "Maybe you've heard of the 
nectar of the gods. Well, you've just drunk it, my 
friend." 

"I sure have. Those kids out there, smiling after 
all that hell; and you and me on the sidewalk, 
blubbering over 'em! What's the answer? We're 
Americans!" 

"You said it. Good-bye." 

Cutty pressed on to the flow and went along with 
it, lighter in the heart than he had been in many a 
day. These two million who lined Fifth Avenue, 
who cheered, laughed, wept, went silent, cheered 
again, what did their presence here signify? That 
America's day had come; that as a people they were 
homogeneous at last; that that which laws had failed 
to bring forth had been accomplished by an ideal. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 195 

Bolshevism, socialism call it what you will 
would beat itself into fragments against this Rock of 
Democracy, which went down to the centre of the 
world and whose pinnacle touched the stars. Rein- 
carnation; the simple ideals of the forefathers re- 
stored. And with this knowledge tingling in his 
thoughts and perhaps there was a bit of spring 
in his heart Cutty continued on, without destina- 
tion, chin jutting, eyes shining. He was an Ameri- 
can! 

He might have continued on indefinitely had he 
not seen obliquely a window filled with musical in- 
struments. 

Hawksley's fiddle! He had all but forgotten. 
All right. If the poor beggar wanted to scrape a 
fiddle, scrape it he should. The least he, Cutty, 
could do would be to accede to any and every whim 
Hawksley expressed. Wasn't he planning to rob 
the beggar of the drums, happen they ever turned 
up? But how the deuce to pick out a fiddle which 
would have a tune in it? Of all the hypercritical 
duffers the fiddler was the worst. Beside a fiddler 
of the first rank the rich old maid with the poodle 
was a hail fellow well met. 

Of course Gregor had taught the chap. That 
meant he would know instantly; just as his host 
would instantly observe the difference between green 
glass and green beryl. 

Cutty turned into the shop, infinitely amused. 



196 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Fiddles! What next? Having constituted a guard- 
ianship over Kitty, he was now playing impressario to 
Hawksley. As if he hadn't enough parts to play! 
Wouldn't he be risking his life to-night trying to find 
where Stefani Gregor was? Fiddles! Fiddles and 
emeralds! What a choice old hypocrite he was! 

Fate has a way of telling you all about it after- 
ward; conceivably, that humanity might continue 
to reproduce its species. Otherwise humanity would 
proceed to extinguish itself forthwith. Thus, Cutty 
Was totally unaware upon entering the shop that he 
was about to tear off its hinges the door he was 
so carefully bolting and latching and padlocking 
between Kitty Conover and this duffer who wanted 
to fiddle his way through convalescence. 

Where there is fiddling there is generally dancing. 
If it be not the feet, then it will be the soul. 



CHAPTER XVin 



JP"" ~"^HERE are some men who know a little about 
all things and a great deal about many. Such 

L a man was Cutty. But as he approached the 
counter behind which stood an expectant clerk he 
felt for once that he was in a far country. There 
were fiddles and fiddles, just as there were emeralds 
and emeralds. Never again would he laugh over 
the story of the man who thought Botticelli was 
a manufacturer of spool thread. He attacked the 
problem, however, like the thoroughbred he was 
frankly. 

"I want to buy a violin," he began, knowing that 
in polite musical circles the word fiddle was taboo. 
"I know absolutely nothing at all about quality or 
price. Understand, though, while you might be able 
to fool me, you wouldn't fool the man I'm buying it 
for. Now what would you suggest?" 

The clerk a salesman familiar with certain urban 
types, thinly including the Fifth Avenue, which 
came in for talking-machine records recognized in 
this well-dressed, attractive elderly man that which 
he designated the swell. Hateful word, yes, but 
having a perfectly legitimate niche, since in the minds 
of the hvi polloi it nicely describes the differences 

197 



198 The Drums of Jeopardy 

between the poor gentleman and the gentleman of 
leisure. To proceed with the digression, to no one 
is the word more hateful than to the individual to 
whom it is applied. Cutty would have blushed at 
the clerk's thought. 

"Perhaps I'd better get the proprietor," was the 
clerk's suggestion. 

"Good idea," Cutty agreed. "Take my card 
along with you." This was a Fifth Avenue shop, 
and Cutty knew there would be a Who's Who or a 
Bradstreet somewhere about. 

In the interim he inspected the case-lined walls. 
Trombones. He chuckled. Lucky that Hawksley's 
talent didn't extend in this direction. True, he 
himself collected drums, but he did not play them. 
Something odd about music; human beings had to 
have it, the very lowest in the scale. A universal 
magic. He was himself very fond of good music; 
but these days he fought shy of it; it had the faculty 
of sweeping him back into the twenties and reincar- 
nating vanished dreams. 

After a certain length of time, from the corner of 
his eye he saw the clerk returning with the proprietor, 
the latter wearing an amiable smile, which probably 
connoted a delving into the aforesaid volumes of at- 
tainment and worth. Cutty hoped this was so, as 
it would obviate the necessity of going into details 
as to who he was and what he had. 

"Your name is familiar to me," began the pro- 



The Drums of Jeopardy 199 

prietor. "You collect antique drums. My clerk 
tells me that you wish to purchase a good violin." 

"Very good. I have in my apartment rather a 
distinguished guest who plays the violin for his own 
amusement. He is ill and cannot select for himself. 
Now I know a little about music but nothing about 
violins." 

"I suggest that I personally carry half a dozen 
instruments to your apartment and let your guest 
try them. How much is he willing to pay?" 

"Top price, I should say. Shall I make a de- 
posit?" 

"If you don't mind. Merely precautionary. 
Half a dozen violins will represent quite a sum of 
money; and taxicabs are unreliable animals. A 
thousand against accidents. What time shall I 
call?" The proprietor's curiosity was stirred. Mu- 
sical celebrities, as he had occasion to know, were 
always popping up in queer places. Some new star 
probably, whose violin had been broken and who 
did not care to appear in public before the hour of 
his debut. 

"Three o'clock," said Cutty. 

"Very well, sir. I promise to bring the violins 
myself." 

Cutty wrote out his check for a thousand and de- 
parted, the chuckle still going on inside of him. Ver- 
satile old codger, wasn't he? 

Promptly at three the dealer arrived, his arms and 



200 The Drums of Jeopardy 

his hands gripping violin cases. Cutty hurried to 
his assistance, accepted a part of the load, and beck- 
oned to the man to follow him. The cases were 
placed on the floor, and the dealer opened them, 
putting the rosin on a single bow. 

Hawksley, a fresh bandage on his head, his should- 
ers propped by pillows, eyed the initial manoeuvres 
with frank amusement. 

"I say, you know, would you mind tuning them 
for me? I'm not top hole." 

The dealer's eyebrows went up. An Englishman? 
Bewildered, he bent to the trifling labour of tuning 
the violins. Hawksley rejected the first two instru- 
ments after thrumming the strings with his thumb. 
He struck up a melody on the third but did not 
finish it. 

"My word! If you have a violin there why not 
let me have it at once?" 

The dealer flushed. "Try this, sir. But I do not 
promise you that I shall sell it." 

"Ah!" Hawksley stretched out his hands to 
receive the instrument. 

Of course Cutty had heard of Amati and Stradi- 
vari, master and pupil. He knew that all famous 
violinists possessed instruments of these schools, 
and that such violins were practically beyond the 
reach of many. Only through some great artist's 
death or misfortune did a fine violin return to the 
marts. But the rejected fiddles had sounded musi- 



The Drums of Jeopardy 201 

cally enough for him and looked as if they were well 
up in the society of select fiddles. The fiddle Hawks- 
ley now held in his hands was dull, almost black. 
The maple neck was worn to a shabby gray and the 
varnish had been sweated off the chin rest. 

Hawksley laid his fingers on the strings and drew 
the bow with a powerful flourishing sweep. The 
rich, sonorous tones vibrated after the bow had 
passed. Then followed the tricks by which an artist 
seeks to discover flaws or wolf notes. A beatific 
expression settled upon Hawksley face. He nestled 
the violin comfortably under his chin and began to 
play softly. Cutty, the nurse, and the dealer became 
images. 

Minors; a bit of a dance; more minors; nothing 
really begun, nothing really finished sketches, with 
a melancholy note running through them all. While 
that pouring into his ears enchained his body it 
stirred recollections in Cutty's mind: The fair at 
Novgorod; the fiddling mountebanks; Russian. 

Perhaps the dealer's astonishment was greatest. 
An Englishman! Who ever heard of an Englishman 
playing a violin like that? 

"I will buy it," said Hawksley, sinking back. 

"Sir," began the dealer, "I am horribly embar- 
rassed. I cannot sell that violin because it isn't 
mine. It is an Amati worth ten thousand dollars." 

"I will give you twelve." 

"But, sir " 



202 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Name a price," interrupted Hawksley, rather 
imperiously. "I want it." 

Cutty understood that he was witnessing a flash 
of the ancient blood. To want anything was to 
have it. 

"I repeat, sir, I cannot sell it. It belongs to a 
Hungarian who is now in Hungary. I loaned him 
fifteen hundred and took the Amati as security. 
Until I learn if he is dead I cannot dispose of the 
violin. I am sorry. But because you are a real art- 
ist, sir, I will loan it to you if you will make a deposit 
of ten thousand against any possible accident, and 
that upon demand you will return the instrument to 
me." 

"That's fair enough," interposed Cutty. 

"I beg pardon," said Hawksley. "I agree. I 
want it, but not at the price of any one's dishonesty." 
He turned his head toward Cutty, "You're a thor- 
oughbred, sir. This will do more to bring me round 
than all the doctors in the world." 

"But what the deuce is the difference?" Cutty 
demanded with a gesture toward the rejected violins. 

The dealer and Hawksley exchanged smiles. Said 
the latter: "The other violins are pretty wooden 
boxes with tolerable tunes in their insides. This has 
a soul." He put the violin against his cheek again. 

Massenet's "Elegie," Moszkowski's "Serenata," a 
transcription, and then the aria from Lucia. Not com- 
positions professional violinists would have selected. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 203 

Cutty felt his spine grow cold as this aria poured gold- 
enly to ward heaven. He understood. Hawksleywas 
telling him that the shade of his glorious mother was 
in this "room. The boy was right. Some fiddles had 
souls. An odd depression bore down upon him. Per- 
haps this surprising music, topping his great emotions 
of the morning, was a straw too much. There were 
certain exaltations that could not be sustained. 

A whimsical forecast: This chap here, in the dingy 
parlour of his Montana ranch, playing these inde- 
scribable melodies to the stars, his cowmen outside 
wondering what was the matter with their "inards.'* 
Somehow this picture lightened the depression. J 

"My fingers are stiff," said Hawksley. "My 
hand is tired. I should like to be alone." He lay 
back rather inertly. 

In the corridor Cutty whispered to the dealer: 
"What do you think of him?" 

"As he says, his touch shows a little stiffness, but 
the wonderful fire is there. He's an amateur, but 
a fine one. Practice will bring him to a finish in no 
time. But I never heard an Englishman play a violin 
like that before." 

"Nor I," Cutty agreed. "When the owner sends 
for that fiddle let me know. Mr. Hawksley might 
like to dicker for it. If you know where the owner 
is you might cable that you have an offer of twelve 
thousand." 

"I'm sorry, but I haven't the least idea where the 



04 The Drums of Jeopardy 

owner is. However, there is an understanding that 
if the loan isn't covered in eighteen months the 
instrument becomes salable for my own protection. 
There is a year still to run." 

Four o'clock found Cutty pacing his study, the 
room blue with smoke. Of all the queer chaps he 
had met in his varied career this Two-Hawks topped 
the lot. The constant internal turmoil that must be 
going on, the instincts of the blood artist and auto>- 
-crat! And in the end, the owner of a cattle ranch, 
if he had the luck to get there alive! Dizzy old 
world. ., ., 

Something else happened at four o'clock. A po- 
liceman strolled into Eightieth Street. He was at 
peace with the world. Spring was in his whistle, 
in his stride, in the twirl of his baton. Whenever 
he passed a shop window he made it serve as a mirror. 
No waistline yet a comforting thought. 

Children swarmed the street and gathered at cor- 
ners. The older ones played boldly in midstreet, 
while the toddlers invented games that kept them 
to the sidewalk and curb. The policeman came 
stealthily upon one of these latter groups Italians. 
At the sight of his brass buttons they fled precipi- 
tately. He laughed. Once in a month of moons 
he was able to get near enough to touch them. Nat- 
ural. Hadn't he himself hiked in the old days at the 
sight of a copper? Sure, he had. 

A bit of colour on the sidewalk attracted his eye, 



The Drums of Jeopardy 205 

and he picked up the object. Something those kids 
had been playing with. A bit of red glass out of a 
piece of cheap jewellery. Not half bad for a fake. 
He would put one over on Maggie when he turned 
in for supper. Certainly this was the age of imita- 
tion. You couldn't buy a brass button with any 
confidence. He put the trinket in his pocket and 
continued on, soon to forget it. 

At six he was off duty. As he was leaving the pre- 
cinct the desk sergeant called him back. 

"Got change for a dollar, an' I'll settle that pi- 
nochle debt," offered the sergeant. 

"I'll take a look." The policeman emptied his 
coin pocket. 

"What's that yuh got there?" 

"Which?" 

"The red stone?" 

"Oh, that? Picked it up on the sidwalk. Some 
I-talian kids dropped it as they skedaddled." 

"Let's have a look." 

" Sure." The policeman passed over the stone. 

"Gee! That looks like real money. Say, they 
can do anything with glass these days." 

"They sure can." 

A man in civilian clothes a detective from head- 
quarters went up to the desk. "What you guys 
got there?" 

"A ruby this boob picks up off'n the sidewalk," 
said the sergeant, winking at the finder, who grinned. 



206 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Let's have a squint at it." 

The stone was handed to him. The detective 
stared at it carefully, holding it on his palm and 
rocking it gently under the desk light. Crimson 
darts of flame answered to this treatment. He 
pushed back his hat. 

"Well, you boobs!" he drawled. 

"What's the matter?" 

"Matter? Why, this is a ruby! A whale of a 
ruby, an' pigeon blood at that! I didn't work in 
th* appraiser's office for nothing. But for a broken 
point kids probably tried to crack it it would 
stack up somewhere between three and four thou- 
sand dollars ! " 

The sergeant and the policemen barked simul- 
taneously: "What?" 

"A pigeon blood. Where was it you found it?" 

" Holy Moses ! On Eightieth." 

"Any chance of finding that bunch of kids? " 

"Not a chance, not a chance! If I got the hull 
district here there wouldn't be nothin' doin'. The 
kids'd be too scared t* remember anything. A 
pigeon-blood ruby, an' I wasn't gonna pick it up 
at first!" 

"Lock it up, sergeant," ordered the detective. 
"I'll pass the word to headquarters. Too big for a 
ring. Probably fallen from a pin. But there'll 
be a holler in a few hours. Lost or stolen, there'll 
be some big noise. You two boobs!" 



The Drums of Jeopardy 207 

"Well, whadda yuh know about that?" whined 
the policeman. "An* me thinkin' it was glass!" 

But there was no big noise. No one had re- 
ported the loss or theft of a pigeon-blood ruby of 
unusual size and quality. 



CHAPTER XIX 

KITTY came home at nine that night, dread- 
fully tired. She had that day been rocked 
by so many emotions. She had viewed the 
parade from the windows of a theatrical agency, and 
she had cheered and cried like everybody else. Her 
eyes still smarted, and her throat betrayed her every 
time she recalled what she had seen. Those boys! 
Loneliness. She had dined downtown, and on the 
way home the shadow had stalked beside her. Lone- 
liness. Never before had these rooms seemed so 
empty, empty. If God had only given her a brother 
and he had marched in that glorious parade, what 
fun they two would be having at this moment! 
Empty rooms; not even a pet. 

Loneliness. She had been a silly little fool to 
stand so aloof, just because she was poor and lived 
in a faded locality. She mocked herself. Poor but 
proud, like the shopgirl in the movies. Denied 
herself companionship because she was ashamed of 
her genteel poverty. And now she was paying for 
it. Silly little fool! It wasn't as if she did not 
know how to make and keep friends. She knew she 
had attractions. Just a senseless false pride. The 
best friends in the world, after a series of rebuffs, 

208 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

would drop away. Her mother's friends never called 
any more, because of her aloofness. She had only a 
few girl friends, and even these no doubt were begin- 
ning to think her uppish. 

She did not take off her hat and coat. She 
wandered through the empty rooms, undecided. 
If she went to a movie the rooms would be just as 
lonely when she returned. Companionship. The 
urge of it was so strong that there was a temptation 
to call up someone, even someone she had rebuffed. 
She was in the mood to confess everything and to 
make an honest attempt to start all over again to 
accept friendship and let pride go hang. Impul- 
sively she started for the telephone, when the door- 
bell rang. 

Immediately the sense of loneliness fell away. An- 
other chapter in the great game of hide and seek 
that had kept her from brooding until to-night? 
The doorbell carried a new message these days. 
Nine o'clock. Who could be calling at that hour? 
She had forgotten to advise Cutty of the fact that 
someone had gone through the apartment. She 
could not positively assert the fact. Those articles 
in her bureau she herself might have disturbed. She 
might have taken a handkerchief in a hurry, hunted 
for something under the lingerie impatiently. Still 
she could not rid herself of the f eeling that alien hands 
had been rifling her belongings. Not Bernini, de- 
cidedly. 



210 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Remembering Cutty's advice about opening the 
door with her foot against it, she peered out. No em- 
issary of Bolshevism here. A weary little messenger 
boy with a long box in his arms called her name. 

"Miz Conover?" 

"Yes." 

The boy thrust the box into her hands and clumped 
to the stairhead. Kitty slammed the door and ran 
into the living room, tearing open the box as she ran. 
Roses from Cutty; she knew it. The old darling! 
Just when she was on the verge of breaking down 
and crying! She let the box fall to the floor and 
cuddled the flowers to her heart, her eyes filling. 
Cutty. 

One of those ideas which sometime or another 
spring into the minds of all pretty women who are 
poor sprang into hers an idea such as an honest 
woman might muse over, only to reject. Sinister 
and cynical. Kitty was at this moment in rather a 
desperate frame of mind. Those two inherent char- 
acteristics, which she had fought valiantly love 
of good times and of pretty clothes made ingress 
easy for this sinister and cynical idea. Having 
gained a foothold it pressed forward boldly. Cutty, 
who had everything strength, comeliness, wisdom, 
and money. To live among all those beautiful 
things, never to be lonely again, to be waited on, 
fussed over, made much of, taken into the high world. 
Never more to add up accounts, to stretch five-dolla* 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

bills across the chasm of seven days. An old man's 
darling! 

"No, no, no!" she burst out, passionately. She 
drew a- hand across her eyes. As if that gesture 
could rub out an evil thought! It is all very well to 
say "Avaunt!" But if the idea will not? "I 
couldn't, I couldn't! I'd be a liar and a cheat. But 
he is so nice! If he did want me! . . . No, no! 
Just for comforts! I couldn't! What a miserable 
wretch I am!" 

She caught up the copper jug and still holding 
the roses to her heart, the tears streaming down her 
cheeks, rushed out to the kitchen for water. She 
dropped the green stems into the jug, buried her 
face in the buds to cool the hot shame on her cheeks, 
and remembered what a ridiculous thing the mind 
was! that she had three shirt waists to iron. She 
set the jug on the kitchen table, where it remained 
for many hours, and walked over to the range, to the 
flatiron shelf. As she reached for a flatiron her 
hand stopped in midair. 

A fat black wallet! Instantly she knew who had 
placed it there. That poor Johnny Two-Hawks! 

Kitty lifted out the wallet from behind the flat- 
irons. No doubt of it, Johnny Two-Hawks had 
placed it there when she had gone to the speaking 
tube to summon the janitor. Not knowing if he 
would ever call for it! Preferring that she rather 
than his enemies should have it. And without a 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

word! What a simple yet amazing hiding place; 
and but for the need of a flatiron the wallet would 
have stayed there until she moved. Left it there, 
with the premonition that he was heading into 
trouble. But what if they had killed him? How 
would she have explained the wallet's presence in 
her apartment? Good gracious, what an escape! 

Without direct consciousness she raised the flap. 
She saw the edges of money and documents; but 
she did not touch anything. There was no need. 
She knew it belonged to Johnny Two-Hawks. Of 
course there was an appalling attraction. The wal- 
let was, figuratively, begging to be investigated. 
But resolutely she closed the flap. Why? Because 
it was as though Two-Hawks had placed the wallet 
in her hands, charging her to guard it against the 
day he reclaimed it. There was no outward proof 
that the wallet was his. She just knew, that was 
all. 

Still, she examined the outside carefully. In one 
corner had been originally a monogram or a crest; 
effectually obliterated by the application of fire. 

Who he was and what he was, by a simple turn 
of the wrist. It was Cutty's affair now, not hers. 
He had a legal right to examine the contents. He 
was an agent of the Federal Government. The 
drums of jeopardy and Stefani Gregor and Johnny 
Two-Hawks, all interwoven. She had waited in 
vain for Cutty to mention the emeralds. What sig- 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

nified his silence? She had indirectly apprised him of 
the fact that she knew the author of that advertise- 
ment offering to purchase the drums, no questions 
asked. Who but Cutty in New York would know 
about them? The mark of the thong. Johnny 
Two-Hawks had been carrying the drums, and E.ar- 
lov's men had torn them from their victim's neck 
during the battle. Was there any reason why Cutty 
should not have taken her completely into his con- 
fidence? Palaces looted. If Stefani Gregor had 
lived in a palace, why not his protege? Still, it was 
possible Cutty was holding back until he could tell 
her everything. 

But what to do with it? If she called him up and 
made known her discovery, Cutty would rush up as 
fast as a taxicab could bring him. He had peremp- 
torily ordered her not to come to his apartment for 
the present. But to sit here and wait, to be alone 
again after he had gone! It was not to be borne. 
Orders or no orders, she would carry the wallet to 
him. He could lecture her as much as he pleased. 
To-night, at least, she would lay aside her part as 
parlour maid in the drama. It would give her 
something to do, keep her mind off herself. Noth- 
ing but excitement would pull her out of this semi- 
hysterical doldrum. 

She hid the wallet in the pocket of her underskirt. 
Already her blood was beginning to dance. She 
ran into her bedroom for two veils, a gray automobile 



214 The Drums of Jeopardy 

puggree and one of those heavy black affairs with 
butterflies scattered over it, quite as effectual as a 
mask. She wound the puggree about her hat. 
When the right moment came she would discard the 
puggree and drop the black veil. Her coat was of 
dark blue, lined with steel-gray taffeta. Turned 
inside out it would fool any man. She wore spats. 
These she would leave behind when she made the 
change. 

Someone might follow her as far as the Knicker- 
bocker, but beyond there, never. She was sorry, 
but she dared not warn Bernini. He might object, 
notify Cutty, and spoil everything. 

By the time she reached the street exhilaration 
suffused her. The melancholia was gone. The 
sinister and cynical idea had vanished apparently. 
Apparently. Merely it had found a hiding place 
and was content to abide there for the present. 
Such ideas are not without avenues of retreat; they 
know the hours of attack. Kitty was alive to but 
one fact: The game of hide and seek was on again. 
She was going to have some excitement. She was 
going into the night on an adventure, as children 
play at bears in the dark. The youth in her still 
rejected the fact that the woof and warp of this ad- 
venture were murder and loot and pain. 

En route to the Subway she never looked back. 
At Forty-second Street she detrained, walked into 
the Knickerbocker, entered the ladies dressing room, 



The Drums of Jeopardy 215 

turned her coat, redraped her hat, checked her 
gaiters, and sought a taxi. Within two blocks of 
Cutty's she dismissed the cab and finished the jour- 
ney on foot. 

At the left of the lobby was an all-night apothe- 
cary's, with a door going into the lobby. Kitty 
proceeded to the elevator through this avenue. 
Number Four was down, and she stepped inside, 
raising her veil. 

"You, miss?" 

"Very important. Take me up." 

"The boss is out." 

"No matter. Take me up." 

" You're the doctor ! " What a pretty girl she was \ 
No come-on in her eyes, though. "The boss may 
not get back until morning. He just went out in his 
engineer's togs. He sure wasn't expecting you." 

"Do you know where he went?" 

"Never know. But I'll be in this bird cage until 
he comes back." 

"I shall have to wait for him." 

"Up she goes!" 

As Kitty stepped out into the corridor a wave of 
confusion assailed her. She hadn't planned against 
Cutty's absence. There was nothing she could say 
to the nurse; and if Johnny Two-Hawks was asleep 
why, all she could do would be to curl up on a 
divan and await Cutty's return. 

The nurse appeared. " You, Miss Conover? " 



216 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Yes." Kitty realized at once that she must 
take the nurse into her confidence. "I have made 
a really important discovery. Did Cutty say when 
he would return?" 

"No. I am not in his confidence to that extent. 
But I do know that you assumed unnecessary risks 
in coming here." 

Kitty shrugged and produced the waDet. "Is 
Mr. Hawksley awake?" 

"He is." 

"It appears that he left this wallet in my kitchen 
that night. It might buck him up if I gave it to 
him." 

The nurse, eyeing the lovely animated face, con- 
ceded that it might. "Come, I've been trying fu- 
tilely to read him asleep, but he is restless. No ex- 
citement, please." 

"I'll try not to. Perhaps, after all, you had better 
give him the wallet." 

"On the contrary, that would start a series of 
questions I could not answer. Come along." 

When Kitty saw Hawksley she gave a little gasp of 
astonishment. Why, he was positively handsome! 
His dark head, standing out boldly against the bol- 
stering pillows, the fine lines of his face definite, the 
pallor he was like a Roman cameo. Who and 
what could he be, this picturesque foundling? 

His glance flashed into hers delightedly. For 
hours and hours the constant wonder where she was, 



The Drums of Jeopardy 217 

why no one mentioned her, why they evaded his 
apparently casual questions. To burst upon his 
vision in the nadir of his boredom and loneliness like 
this! She was glorious, this American girl. She 
made him think of a golden scabbard housing a fine 
Toledo blade. Hadn't she saved his life? More, 
hadn't she assumed a responsibility in so doing? 
Instantly he purposed that she should not be per- 
mitted to resign the office of good Samaritan. He 
motioned toward the nurse's chair; and Kitty sat 
down, her errand in total eclipse. 

"Just when I never felt so lonely ! Ripping ! " 

His quick smile was so engaging that Kitty an- 
swered it kindred spirits, subconsciously recog- 
nizing each other. Fire; but neither of them knew 
that; or that two lonely human beings of opposite 
sex, in touch, constitute a first-rate combustible. 

Quietly the nurse withdrew. There would be a 
tonic in this meeting for the patient. Her own 
presence might neutralize the effect. She had not 
spent all those dreadful months in base hospitals 
without acquiring a keen insight into the needs of 
sick men. No harm in letting him have this pretty, 
self-reliant girl alone to himself for a quarter of an 
hour. She would then return with some broth. 

"How how are you?" asked Kitty, inanely. 

"Top-hole, considering. Quite ready to be killed 
all over again." 

"You mustn't talk like that!" she protested. 



218 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Only to show you I was bucking up. Thank 
you for doing what you did." 

"I had to do it." 

"Most women would have run away and left me 
to my fate." 

"Not my kind." 

"Rather not! Your kind would risk its neck to 
help a stray cat. I say, what's that you have in 
your hand?" 

"Good gracious!" Kitty extended the wallet. 
"It is yours, isn't it?" 

"Yes. I wanted you to bring it to me the way 
you have. If I hadn't come back out of that 
it was to be yours." 

"Mine? " dumf ounded. " But " 

"Why not? Gregor gone, there wasn't a soul in 
the world. I was hungry, and you gave me food. 
I wanted that to pay you. I'll wager you've never 
looked into it." 

"I had no right to." 

"See!" He opened the wallet and spread the 
contents on the counterpane. "I wasn't so stony 
as you thought. What? Cash and unregistered 
bonds. They would have been yours absolutely." 

"But I don't I can't quite," Kitty stammered 
"but I couldn't have kept them!" 

"Positively yes. You would have shown them to 
that ripping guardian of yours, and he would have 
made you see." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 219 

"Indeed, yes! He would have been scared to 
death. You poor man, can't you see? Circumstan- 
tial evidence that I had killed you!" 

"Good Lord! And you're right, too! So it goes. 
You can't do anything you want to do. The good 
Samaritan is never requited; and I wanted to break 
the rule. Lord, what a bally mix-up I'd have tum- 
bled you in! I forgot that you were you, that you 
would have gone straight to the authorities. Of 
course I knew if I pulled through and you found the 
wallet you would bring it to me." 

Kitty no longer had a foot on earth. She floated. 
Her brain floated, too, because she could not make it 
think coherently for her. A fortune for a dish of 
bacon and eggs ! The magnificence, the utter prodi- 
gality of such generosity! For a dish of bacon and 
eggs and a bottle of milk! Had she left home? 
Hadn't she fallen asleep, the victim of another 
nightmare? A corner of the atmosphere cleared a 
little. A desire took form; she wanted the nurse to 
come back and stabilize things. In a wavering 
blur she saw the odd young man restore the money 
and bonds and other documents to the wallet. 

"I want you to give this to your guardian when 
he comes in. I want him to understand. I say, you 
know, I'm going to love that old thoroughbred ! He's 
fine. Fancy his carrying me on his shoulders and 
eventually bringing me up here among the clouds! 
Americans. . . . Are you all like that? And you!" 
PROPERTY OF 

DOBRIN CIRCULATING LIBRARIES 



220 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Kitty's brain began to make preparations to 
alight, as it were. Cutty. That gave her a touch 
of earth. She heard herself say faintly: "And what 
about me?" 

"You were brave and kind. To help an unknown, 
friendless beggar like that, when you should have 
turned him over to the police! Makes me feel a 
bit stuffy. They left me for dead. I wonder 

"What?" 

"If it wouldn't have been just as well!'* 

"You mustn't talk like that! You just mustn't! 
You're with friends, real friends, who want to help 
you all they can." And then with a little flash of 
forced humour, because of the recurrent tightening 
in her throat "Who could be friendless, with all 
that money?" Instantly she felt like biting her 
tongue. He would know nothing of the sad 
American habit of trying to be funny to keep a 
wobbly situation on its legs. He would interpret 
it as heartlessness. "I didn't mean that!" With 
the Irish impulsiveness which generally weighs acts 
in retrospection, she reached over and gripped his 
hand. 

"I say, you two!" Hawksley closed his eyes for a 
second. "Wanting to buck up a chap because you're 
that sort! All right. I'll stick it out! You two! 
And I might be the worst scoundrel unhung!" 

He drew her hand toward his lips, and Kitty had 
not the power to resist him. She felt strangely 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

theatrical, a character in a play; for American men, 
except in playful burlesque, never kissed their wo- 
men's hands. The moment he released the hand 
the old wave of hysteria rolled over her. She must 
fly. The desire to weep, little fool that she was! was 
breaking through her defences. Loneliness. The 
two of them all alone but for Cutty. She rose, crush- 
ing the wallet in her hand. 

Ah, never had she needed that darling mother of 
hers so much as now. Tears did not seem to afford 
relief when one shed them into handkerchiefs and 
pillows. But on that gentle bosom, to let loose this 
brimming flood, to hear the tender voice consoling! 

"Oh, I say, now! Please!" she heard Johnny 
Two-Hawks cry out. 

But she rushed on blindly, knocking against the 
door jamb and almost upsetting the nurse, who was 
returning. Somehow she managed to reach the 
living room, glad it was dark. After sundry reach- 
ing about she found the divan and flung herself upon 
it. What would he think? What would the nurse 
think? That Kitty Conover had suddenly gone 
stark, raving crazy! And now that she was in 
the dark, alone, the desire to weep passed over and 
she lay quietly with her face buried in the pillow. 
But not for long. 

She sat up. Music violin music! A gay waltz 
that made her think of flashing water, the laughter 
of children. Tschaikowsky. Thrilled, she waited 



The Drams of Jeopardy 

for the finale. Silence. Scharwenka's "Polish Dance," 
with a swing and a fire beyond anything she had 
ever heard before. Another stretch of silence a 
silence full of interrogation points. Then a tender 
little sketch, quite unfamiliar. But all at once she 
understood. He was imploring her to return. 
She smiled in the dark; but she knew she was going 
to remain right where she was. 

"Miss Conover?" It was the voice of the nurse. 

"Yes. I'm over here on the divan." 

"Anything wrong?" 

"Good gracious, no! I'm overtired. A little 
hysterical, maybe. The parade to-day, with all those 
wounded boys in automobiles, the music and colour 
and excitement have rather done me up. And the 
way I rushed up here. And not finding Cutty 

"Anything I can get for you?" 

"No, thanks. I'll try to snatch a little sleep before 
Cutty returns." 

"But he may be gone all night!" 

"Will it be so very scandalous if I stay here?" 

"You poor child! Go ahead and sleep. Don't 
hesitate to call me if you want anything. I have a 
mild sedative if you would like it." 

"No, thanks. I did not know that Mr. Hawksley 
played." 

" Wonderfully ! But does it bother you? " 

"It kind of makes me choky." 

"I'll tell him." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

Kitty, now strangely at peace, snuggled down 
among the pillows. Some great Polish violinist, 
who had roused the bitter enmity of the anarchist? 
But no; ne was Russian. Cutty had admitted that. 
It struck her that Cutty knew a great deal more than 
Kitty Conover; and so far as she could see there was 
no apparent reason for this secrecy. She rather 
believed she had Cutty. Either he should tell her 
everything or she would run loose, Bolshevik or no 
Bolshevik. 

Sheep. She boosted one over the bars, another 
and another. Round somewhere in the thirties the 
bars dissolved. The next thing she knew she was 
blinking in the light, Cutty, his arms folded, staring 
down at her sombrely. There was blood on his face 
and blood on his hands. 



CHAPTER XX 

KARLOV moodily touched the shoulder of the 
man on the cot. Stefani Gregor puzzled him. 
He came to this room more often than was 
wise, driven by a curiosity born of a cynical philos- 
ophy to discover what it was that reenforced this 
fragile body against threats and thirst and hunger. 
He knew what he wanted of Gregor the fiddler on 
his knees begging for mercy. And always Gregor 
faced him with that silent calm which reminded him 
of the sea, aloof, impervious, exasperating. Only 
once since the day he had been locked in this room 
had Gregor offered speech. He, Karlov, had roared 
at him, threatened, baited, but his reward generally 
had been a twisted wintry smile. 

He could not offer physical torture beyond the 
frequent omissions of food and water; the body would 
have crumbled. To have planned this for months, 
and then to be balked by something as visible yet as 
elusive as quicksilver! Born in the same mudhole, 
and still Boris Karlov the avenger could not under- 
stand Stefani Gregor the fiddler. Perhaps what 
baffled him was that so valiant a spirit should be 
housed in so weak a body. It was natural that he, 
Boris, with the body of a Carpathian bear, should 

224 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

have a soul to match. But that Stefani, with his 
paper body, should mock him! The damned bour- 
geoisie! 

The quality of this unending calm was under- 
standable: Gregor was always ready to die. What 
to do with a man to whom death was release? To 
hold the knout and to see it turn to water in the hand! 
In lying he had overreached. Gregor, having ac- 
cepted as fact the reported death of Ivan, had noth- 
ing to live for. Having brought Gregor here to tor- 
ture he had, blind fool, taken away the fiddler's abil- 
ity to feel. The fog cleared. He himself had given 
his enemy this mysterious calm. He had taken out 
Gregor's soul and dissipated it. 

No. Not quite dissipated. What held the toody 
together was the iron residue of the soul. Venom 
and blood clogged Karlov's throat. He could 
kill only the body, as he had killed the fiddle; he could 
aot reach the mystery within. Ah, but he had wrung 
Stefani's heart there. There were pieces of the fiddle 
on the table where Gregor had placed them, doubt- 
less to weep over when he was alone. Why hadn't 
he thought to break the fiddle a little each day? 

"Stefani Gregor, sit up. I have come to talk." 
This was formula. Karlov did not expect speech 
from Gregor. 

Slowly the thin arms bore up the torso; slowly the 
legs swung to the floor. But the little gray man's 
eyes were bright and quick to-night. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Boris, what is it you want?" 

"To talk" surprised at this unexpected out< 
burst. 

"No, no. I mean, what is it all about these 
killings, these burnings?" 

Karlov was ready at all times to expound the 
theories that appealed to his dark yet simple mind- 
humanity overturned as one overturned the sod in 
the springtime to give it new lif e. 

"To give the proletariat what is his." 

"Ha!" said the little man on the cot. "What is 
his?" 

"That which capitalism has taken away from 
him." 

"The proletariat. The lowest in the human scale 
and therefore the most helpless. They shall rule, 
say you. My poor Russia! Beaten and robbed for 
centuries, and now betrayed by a handful of madmen 
with brains atrophied on one side! You are a fool, 
Boris. Your feet are in strange quicksands and your 
head among chimeras. You write some words on a 
piece of paper, and lo! you say they are facts. With- 
out first proving your theories correct you would 
ram them down the throat of the world. The world 
rejects you." 

"Wait and see, damned bourgeoisie!" thundered 
Karlov, not alive to the fact that he was being 
baited. 

"Bourgeoisie? Yes, I am of the middle class; 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

the rogue on top and the fool below. I see. The 
rogue and the fool cannot combine unless the bour- 
geoisie is obliterated. Go on. I am interested." 

"Under the soviet the government shall be 
everything." 

"As it was in Prussia." 

Karlov ignored this. "The individual shall never 
again become rich by exploiting the poor." 

Karlov strove to speak calmly. Gregor's willing- 
ness to discuss the aims of the proletariat confused 
him. He suspected some ulterior purpose behind this 
apparent amiability. He must hold down his fury 
until this purpose was in the open. 

"Well, that is good," Gregor admitted. "But 
somehow it sounds ancient on my ear. Was there 
not a revolution in France?" 

"Fool, it is the world that is revolting!" Karlov 
paused. "And no man in the future shall see his 
sister or his daughter made into a loose woman with- 
out redress." 

"Your proletariat's sister and daughter. But 
the daughter of the noble and the daughter of the 
bourgeoisie fair game ! " 

Sometimes there enters a man's head what might 
be called a sick idea; when the vitality is at low ebb 
and the future holds nothing. Thus there was a grim 
and sick idea behind Gregor's gibes. It was in his 
mind to die. All the things he had loved had been 
destroyed. So then, to goad this madman into 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

a physical frenzy. Once those gorilla-like hands 
reached out for him Stefani Gregor's neck would 
break. 

"Be still, fiddler! You know what I mean. 
There will be no upper class, which is idleness and 
wastefulness; no middle class, the usurers, the gam- 
blers of necessities, the war makers. One great 
body of equals shall issue forth. All shall labour." 

"For what?" 

"The common good." 

"Your Lenine offered peace, bread, and work for 
the overthrow of Kerensky. What you have given 
murder and famine and idleness. Can there be 
common good that is based upon the blood of inno- 
cents? Did Ivan ever harm a soul? Have I? " 

"You!" Karlov trembled. "You with your 
damned green stones! Did you not lure Anna to 
dishonour with the promise to show her the drums, 
the sight of which would make all her dreams come 
true? A child, with a fairy story in her head ! " 

"You speak of Anna! If you hadn't been spout- 
ing your twaddle in taverns you would have had 
time to instruct Anna against guilelessness and super- 
stition." 

"How much did they pay you? Did you fiddle 
for her to dance? . . . But I left their faces in 
the mud!" 

A madman, with two obsessions. A pitiable 
Samson with his arms round the pillars of society to 



The Drums of Jeopardy 229 

drag it down upon his head because society had de- 
filed his sister! Ah, how many thousands in Russia 
like him! A great yearning filled Gregorys heart, 
because *he understood; but he suppressed expression 
of it because the sick idea was stronger. 

"Yes, yes! I loved those green stones because 
it was born in me to love beautiful things. Have 
you forgotten, Boris, the old days in Moscow, when 
we were students and I made you weep with my 
fiddle? There was hope for you then. You had not 
become a pothouse orator on the rights of the pro- 
letariat the red-combed rooster on the smouldering 
dungheap! Beauty, no matter in what form, I 
loved it. Yes, I was mad about those emeralds. 
I was always stealing in to see them, to hold them to 
the light, simply because they were beautiful." Gre- 
gor's hands flew to his throat, which he bared. "I 
lured her there! 'Twas I, Boris! . . . Those 
beautiful hands of yours, fit for the butcher's block! 
Kill me! Kill me !" 

But Karlov shrank back, covering his eyes. "No! 
I see now! You wish to die! You shall live!" He 
rushed toward the far wall, a huge grotesque shadow 
rising to meet him his own, thrown upon the wall 
by the wavering candlelight. He turned shaking, 
for the temptation had been great. 

At once Gregor realized his failure. The tenseness 
went out of him. He spoke calmly. " Yes, I wanted 
to die. I no longer possess anything. I lied, Boris; 



230 The Drums of Jeopardy 

but it is useless to tell you that. I knew nothing of 
Anna until it was too late. I wanted to die." 

Karlov began to pace furiously, the candle flame 
springing after him each time he passed it. 

There was a question in Gregor's mind. It rushed 
to his lips a dozen times but he dared not voice it. 
Olga. Since Karlov could not be tempted to mur- 
der, it would be futile to ask for an additional burden 
of mental torture. Perhaps it had not happened 
the terrible picture he drew in his mind since Karlov 
had not boasted of it. 

"Come, Boris. There is blood on your hands. 
What is one more daub of it?" 

Karlov stopped, scowled, and ran his fingers 
through his hair. Perhaps some ugly memory stirred 
the roots of it. "You wish to die!" 

Gregor bent his head to his hands and Karlov 
resumed his pacing. After a while Gregor looked up. 

"Private vengeance. You begin your rule with 
private vengeance." 

"The vengeance of a people. All the breed. Did 
France stop at Louis? Do we tear up the roots of 
the poisonous toadstool that killed someone we 
loved and leave the other toadstools thriving? " 

"To cure the world of all its ills by tearing up the 
toadstools and the flowers together do you call that 
justice? The proletariat shall have everything, and 
he begins by killing off noble and bourgeoisie and 
dividing up the loot! Even with his oppression the 



The Drums of Jeopardy 231 

noble had a right to live. The bourgeoisie must die 
because of his benefactions to a people. The world 
for the proletariat, and damnation for the rest!" 

"Let- each become one of us," cried Karlov, 
hoarsely. "We give them that right." 

"You lie! You have done nothing but assassinate 
them when they surrendered. But tell me, have not 
you, Lenine, and Trotzky overlooked something?" 

"What?" Karlov was vaguely grateful for this 
diversion. The lust to kill was still upon him and 
he was fighting it. He must remember that Gregor 
wished to die. "What have we overlooked?" 

"Human nature. Can you tear it apart and re- 
construct it, as you would a clock? What of creative 
genius in this proletariat millennium of yours?" 

" The state will carefully mother that." 

Gregor laughed sardonically. "Will there be 
creative genius under your rule? Will you not suf- 
focate it by taking away the air that energizes it 
ambition? You will have all the present marvels of 
invention to start with, but will you ever go beyond? 
Have you read history and observed the inexorable? 
I doubt it. What is progress? A series of almost 
imperceptible steps." 

"Which capitalism has always obstructed," flung 
back Karlov. 

"Which capitalism has always made possible. 
Curb it, yes; but abolish it, as you have done in un- 
happy Russia! Why do you starve there? Poor 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

fool, because you have assassinated those forces 
which created food that is to say, put it where you 
could get it. Three quarters of Russia are against 
you. You read nothing in that? The efficient and 
the inefficient, they shall lie down together as the lion 
and the ass, to paraphrase. They shall become equal 
because you say so. What is, fundamentally, this 
Bolshevism? The revolt of the inefficient. The 
mantle of horror that was Germany's you have 
torn from her shoulders and thrown upon yours. 
Fools!" 

The anarch's huge fists became knotted; wrinkles 
corrugated his forehead; but he did not stir. Gregor 
wanted to die. 

Gregor pointed with trembling hand toward the 
brown litter on the table. "To destroy. You 
shattered a soul there. You tore mine apart when 
you did it. For what? To better humanity? No; 
to rend something, to obliterate something that was 
beautiful. Demolition. Go on. You will tear and 
rend until exhaustion comes, then some citizen king, 
some headstrong Napoleon, will step in. The French 
Revolution taught you nothing. You play 'The 
Marseillaise* in the Neva Prospekt and miss the signi- 
ficance of that song. Liberty? You choose license. 
Equality? You deny it in your acts. Fraternity? 
You slaughter your brothers." 

"Be silent!" roared Karlov, wavering. 

But Gregor continued with a new-found hope. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 233 

He saw that his jeers were wearing down the other's 
control. Perhaps the weak side was the political. 
Karlov was a fanatic. There might yet be death 
in those straining fingers. 

"To "seize by confiscation, without justice, in- 
discriminately all that the group efficient laboriously 
constructed. I enter your house, kill your family 
and steal your silver. Are your acts fundamentally 
different from mine? Remember, I am speaking 
from the point of view as three quarters of Russia 
see it, and all the other civilized nations. There 
may be something magnificent in that soviet consti- 
tution of yours; but you have deluged it in blood and 
folly. Ostensibly you are dividing up the great 
estates, but actually you are parcelling them out and 
charging rent. You will not own anything. The 
state shall own all the property. What will be the 
patriotism of the man who has nothing? Why 
defend something that is only his government's, not 
his own? You are legalizing women as cows. The 
sense of motherhood will vanish when a woman may 
not select her mate. What is the greatest thing hi 
the world? The human need of possession. To 
own something, however little. The spur of creative 
genius. Human beings will never be equal except in 
lawful privileges. The skillful will outpace the un- 
skillful; the thrifty will take from the improvident; 
genius will overtop mediocrity. And you will change 
all this with a scrape of your bloody pen ! " 



234 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Karlov's body began to rock and sway like an 
angry bear's; but still he held his ground. Gregor 
wanted to die, to cheat him. 

"What of power?" went on his baiter. "Capital- 
ism of might. Lenine and Trotzky; are they have 
they been honest? Has Russia actually voted them 
into office? They sit in the seats of the mighty by the 
capitalism of force. . For the capitalism of money, 
which is progress physical and moral, you substitute 
the capitalism of force, which is terror. You speak 
of yourselves as internationalists. Bats, that is 
the judgment day of God internationalism! For 
only on the judgment day will nations become a 
single people." 

A short silence. Gregor was beginning to grow 
weak. Presently he picked up the thread of his 
diatribe. 

"I have lived in England, France, Italy, and here. 
I am competent to draw comparisons. Where you 
went to distill poison I went to absorb facts. And I 
found that here in this great democracy is the [true 
idea. But you will not read the lesson." 

Sweat began to drop from Karlov's beetling eye- 
brows. 

"You will fail miserably here. Why? Because 
the Americans are the greatest of individual prop- 
erty owners. The sense of possession is satisfied. 
And woe to the fool who suggests they surrender this. 
Little wooden houses, thousands and thousands of 



The Drums of Jeopardy 235 

them, with a small plot of ground in the rear where 
a man in the springtime may dig his hands into the 
soil and say gratefully to God, 'Mine, mine ! ' I, too, 
am a Russ. I thought in the beginning that you 
would take this country as an example, a government 
of the people, by the people, for the people. Wrongs? 
Yes. But day by day these wrongs are being righted. 
No lesson in this for Trotzky, a beer-hall orator like 
yourself. Ten million men drafted to carry arms. 
Did they revolt? Shoulder to shoulder the selected 
millions marched to the great ships, shoulder to 
shoulder they pressed toward the Rhine. No lesson 
in that! 

"Capitalism, seeking to save its loans, you rant! 
Capitalism of blood and money that asked only for 
simple justice to mankind. The ideal of a great 
people a mixture of all bloods, even German! No 
lessons in these tremendous happenings! And you 
babble about your damned proletariat who repre- 
sents the dregs of Russia. What is he? The in- 
efficient, whining that the other man has the luck, so 
kill him ! Russia, the kindly ox, fallen among wolves ! 
You cannot tear down the keystone of civilization 
which took seven thousand years to construct in- 
sert it upside down, and expect the arch to stand. 
You have your chance to prove your theories. Prove 
them in Petrograd and Moscow, and you will not 
have to go forth with the torch. And what is this 
torch but the hidden fear that you may be 



236 The Drums of Jeopardy 

wrong? ... To wreck the world before you 
are found out! You are idiots, and you have turned 
Russia into a madhouse! Spawns from the dung- 
heap!" 

"Damn you, Stefani Gregor!" Karlov rushed to 
the cot, raised his terrible fists, his chest heaving. 
Gregor waited. "No, no! You wish to die !" The 
madman swung on his heels and dashed toward the 
door, sweeping the pieces of the violin to the floor 
as he passed the table. 

Gregor feebly drew himself back upon his cot and 
laid his face in the pillow. 

"Ivan my violin all that I knew and loved 
gone! And God will not let me die!" 



CHAPTER XXI 

FROM a window in one of the vacant ware- 
houses, twenty-odd feet away Cutty, from an 
oblique angle, had witnessed the peculiar 
drama without being able to grasp head or tail to it. 
For two hours he had crouched behind his window, 
watching the man on the cot and wondering if he 
would ever turn his face toward the candlelight. 
Then Karlov had entered. Gregor's ironic calm 
with the exception of the time he had bared his 
throat and Karlov's tempestuous exit baffled him. 
To the eye it had the appearance of a victory for 
Gregor and a defeat for Karlov, but Cutty had long 
ago ceased to believe his eyes without some corrobora- 
tive evidence of auricular character. 

* 

He had recognized both men. Karlov answered 
to Kitty's description as an old glove answers to the 
hand. And no man, once having seen Gregor, could 
possibly forget his picturesque head. The old chap 
was alive! This fact made the night's adventure 
tally one hundred per cent. How to get a cheery 
word to him, to buck him up with the promise of 
help? A hard nut to crack; so many obstacles. 
Primarily, this was a Federal affair. Yonder hid the 
werewolf and his pack, and it would be folly to send 

237 



38 The Drums of Jeopardy 

them scattering just for the sake of advising Gregor 
that he was being watched over. 

Underneath the official obligation there was a per- 
sonal interest in not risking the game to warn Gregor. 
Cutty was now positive that the drums of jeopardy 
were hidden somewhere in this house. To perform 
three acts, then: Save Gregor, capture Karlov and 
his pack, and privately confiscate the emeralds. 
Findings were keepings. No compromise regarding 
those green stones. It would not particularly hurt 
his reputation with St. Peter to play the half rogue 
once in a lifetime. Besides, St. Peter, hadn't he 
stolen something himself back there in the Biblical 
days;x>r got into a scrape or something? The old boy 
would understand. Cutty grinned in the dark. 

Any obsession is a blindfold. A straight course 
lay open to Cutty, but he chose the labyrinthian 
because he was obsessed. He wanted those emeralds. 
Nothing less than the possession of them would, to 
his thinking, round out a varied and active career. 
Later, perhaps, he would declare the stones to the 
customs and pay the duty; perhaps. Thus his sub- 
sequent mishaps this night may be laid to the fact 
that he thought and saw through green spectacles. 

The idea that the jewels were hidden near by made 
it imperative that he should handle this affair ex- 
clusively. Coles, the operative he had sent to 
negotiate with Karlov, was conceivably a prisoner 
upstairs or down. Coles knew about the drums, 



The Drums of Jeopardy 239 

and they must not turn up under his eye. Federal 
property, in that event. 

If ever he laid his hands upon the drums he would 
buy something gorgeous for Kitty. Little thorough- 
bred! 

Time for work. Without doubt Karlov had cellar 
exits through this warehouse or the other. The job 
on hand would be first to locate these exits, and then 
to the trap on the roof. With his pocket lamp blaz- 
ing a trail he went down to the cellar and carefully 
inspected the walls that abutted those of the house. 
Nothing on this side. 

He left the warehouse and hugged the street wall 
for a space. The street was deserted. Instead of 
passing Karlov's abode he wisely made a detour of 
the block. He reached the entrance to the second 
warehouse without sighting even a marauding torn. 
In the cellar of this warehouse he discovered a newly 
made door, painted skillfully to represent the lime- 
stone of the foundation. Tiptop. 

Immediately he outlined the campaign. There 
should be two drives one from the front and an- 
other from the roof so that not an anarchist or 
Bolshevik could escape. The mouth of the Federal 
sack should be held at this cellar exit. No matter 
what kind of game he played offside, the raid itself 
must succeed absolutely. Nothing should swerve 
him from making these plans as perfect as it was 
humanly possible. He would be on hand to search 



240 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Karlov himself. If the drums were not on him he 
would return and pick the old mansion apart, lath 
by lath. Gay old ruffian, wasn't he? 

Another point worth considering: He would keep 
his discoveries under cover until the hour to strike 
came. Some over-zealous subordinate might at- 
tempt a coup on his own and spoil everything. 

He picked his way to the far end of the cellar, to 
the doors. Locks gone. He took it for granted 
that the real-estate agent would not come round with 
prospective tenants. These doors would take them 
into the trucking alley, where there were a dozen 
feasible exits. There was no way out of the house 
yard, as the brick wall, ten feet high and running 
from warehouse to warehouse, was blind. Now for 
the trap on the roof. 

He climbed the three flights of stairs crisscrossed 
and festooned with ancient cobwebs. Occasionally 
he sneezed in the crook of his elbow, philosophizing 
over the fact that there was a lot of dead wood prop- 
erty in New York. Americans were eternally on the 
move. 

The window from which he intended dropping to 
the house roof was obdurate. Only the upper half 
was movable. With hardly any noise at all he pulled 
this down, straddled it, balanced himself, secured a 
good grip on the ledge, and let himself down. The 
tips of his shoes, rubber-soled, just reached the roof. 
He landed silently. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 241 

The glare of the street lamp at the corner struck 
the warehouse, and this indirect light was sufficient 
to work by. He made the trap after a series of 
extra-caUtious steps. The roof was slanting and 
pebbled, and the least turn of the foot might start a 
cascade and bell an alarm. A comfort-loving dress- 
suiter like himself, playing Old Sleuth, when he 
ought to be home and in bed! It was all of two- 
thirty. What the deuce would he do when there 
were no more thrills in life? 

He stooped and caught hold of a corner of the 
trap to test it and drew back with a silent curse. 
Glass! He had cut his hand. The beggars had 
covered the trap with cement and broken glass, seal- 
ing it. It would take time to cut round the trap; 
and even then he wouldn't be sure; they might 
have nailed it down from the inside. The worst 
of it was he would have to do the work himself; and 
in the meantime Karlov would have a fair wind for 
his propaganda gas, and perhaps the disposal of the 
drums to some collector who wasn't above bargaining 
for smuggled emeralds. Odd, though, that Karlov 
should have made a prisoner of Coles. What lay 
behind that manoeuvre? Well, this trap must be 
liberated; no getting round that. 

Hang it, he wasn't going to be dishonest exactly; 
it would be simply a double play, half for Uncle Sam 
and half for himself. The idea of offering freely 
his blood and monev to Uncle Sam and at the same 



242 The Drums of Jeopardy 

time putting one over on the old gentleman had a 
novel appeal. 

He stood up and wiped a tickling cobweb from his 
cheek. As the window from which he had descended 
came into range he stared, loose- jawed. Then he 
chuckled, as thoroughbred adventurers generally 
chuckle when they find themselves at the bottom of 
the sack, the mouth of which has subitaneously and 
automatically closed. Wasn't he the brainy old top? 
Wasn't he Sherlock Holmes plus? Old fool, how the 
devil was he going to get back through that window? 

The drums of jeopardy even to think of them 
was unlucky! Not to have planned a retreat; to 
have climbed down a well and cut the bucket rope! 
For in effect that was precisely what he had done. 
Only wings could carry him up to that window. 
With sardonic humour he felt of his shoulder blades. 
Not a feather in sight. Then he touched his ears. 
Ah, here was something definite; they had grown 
several inches during the past few hours. Monu- 
mental ass! 

Of course there would be the drain. He could 
escape; but, dear Lord ! with enough noise to wake the 
dead. And that would write "Finis" to this par- 
ticular adventure. The quarry and the emeralds 
would be gone before he could return with help. 
When everything had gone so smoothly a jolt 
like this! 

A crowded day, and no mistake, as full of individ- 



The Drums of Jeopardy 243 

ual acts as a bill at a vaudeville, trained-animal act 
last. Was it possible that he had gone fiddle hunt- 
ing that morning, netting an Amati worth ten 
thousand dollars ? Hawksley no, he couldn't blame 
Hawksley. Still, if this young Humpty-Dumpty 
hadn't been pushed off his wall he, Cutty, would 
not now be marooned upon this roof 'twixt the devil 
and the deep blue sea. To remain here until sunrise 
would be impossible; to slide down the drain was 
equally impossible that is, if he ever wanted to see 
Boris Karlov again. The way of the transgressor 
was hard. 

He sat on his heels and let his gaze rove four- 
square, permitting no object to escape. He saw a 
clothes pole leaning against the chimney. Evidently 
the former tenants had hung up their laundry here. 
There was no clothesline, however. Caught, jolly 
well, blooming well caught! If ever this got abroad 
he would be laughed out of the game. He wasn't 
going to put one over on Uncle Sam after all. There 
might be some kind of a fire escape on the front of 
the house. No harm in taking a look; it would serve 
to pass the time. 

There was the usual frontal parapet about three 
feet in height. Upturned in the shadow lay a gift 
from the gods a battered kitchen chair, probably 
used to reach the clothesline in the happy days when 
the word "Bolshevism" was known to only a select 
few dark angels. 



244 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Cutty waved a hand cheerfully if vaguely toward 
his guiding star, picked up the chair, commandeered 
the clothes pole, and silently manoeuvred to the wall 
of the warehouse. Standing on the chair he placed 
the tip of the pole against the top of the upper frame 
and pushed the frame halfway up. He repeated this 
act upon the obdurate lower half. He heaved slowly 
but with all his force. Glory be, the lower half 
went up far enough to afford ingress ! He would eat 
his breakfast in the apartment as usual. To-morrow 
night he would establish his line of retreat by fetching 
a light rope ladder. There was sweat at the roots 
of his hair, however, when he finally gained the street. 
He was very tired. He observed mournfully that 
the vigour which had always recharged itself, no mat- 
ter how recklessly he had drawn upon it, was begin- 
ning to protest. Fifty-two. 

Well, his troubles were over for the night. So he 
believed. Arriving home, dirty and spent, he had to 
find Kitty asleep on the divan! 



CHAPTER XXH 

KITTY," he said, breaking the tableau, "what 
are you doing here?" 
"You've been hurt! There is blood on 
you!" 

"A trifling cut. But I'm hurt, nevertheless, that 
you should be so thoughtless as to come here against 
my orders. It doesn't matter that Karlov has given 
up the idea of having you followed. But for the sake 
of us all you must be made to understand that we are 
dealing with high explosives and poison gas. It's 
not what might happen to me or to Uncle Sam's busi- 
ness. It's you. Any moment they may take it into 
their heads to get at me and Hawksley through you. 
That's why we watch over you. You don't want 
to see Hawksley done in, do you? It's real tragedy, 
Kitty, and nobody can guess what the end is going to 
be." 

Kitty's lip quivered. "Cutty, if you talk like 
that to me I shall cry." 

"Good Lord, what about?" bewildered. 

"About everything. I've been on the verge of 
hysterics all day." 

"Kitty, you poor child, what's happened?" 

"Nothing everything. Lonesome. When I saw 

Ml 



246 The Drums of Jeopardy 

all those mothers and wives and sisters and sweet 
hearts on the curb to-day, watching their boys march 
by, it hit me hard. I was alone. Nobody. So 
please don't be cross with me. I'm on the ragged 
edge. Silly, I know. But we women often go to 
pieces over nothing, without any logical reason. 
Ready to face murder and battle and sudden death; 
and then to blow up, as you men say it, over nothing. 
I had to move, go somewhere, do something; so I 
came here. But I came on what do you call it? 
official business. Here!", She offered him the 
wallet. 

"What's this?" 

"Belongs to Johnny Two-Hawks. He hid it that 
night behind my flatirons on the range. Why, 
Cutty, he's rich!" 

"Did he show the contents?" 

"Only the money and the bonds. He said if he 
had died the money and bonds would have been 
mine." 

"Providing Gregor was also dead." Cutty looked 
into the wallet, but disturbed nothing. "I imagine 
these funds are actually Gregor's." 

"He told me to give the wallet to you. And so 
I waited. I fell asleep. So please don't scold me." 

"I'm a brute! But it's because you've become so 
much to me that I was angry. You're Tommy and 
Molly's girl, and I've got to watch out for you until 
you reach some kind of a port." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 247 

"Thank you for the flowers. You'll never know 
just what they did for me. There was somebody 
who gave me a thought." 

"Kitty, I honestly don't get you. A beauty like 
you, lonesome!" 

"That's it. I am pretty. Why should I deny it? 
If I'd been homely I shouldn't have been ashamed 
to invite my friends to my shabby home. I shouldn't 
have cold shouldered everybody through false pride. 
But where have you been, and what have you been 
doing?" 

"Official business. But I just missed being a fine 
jackass. I'll look into the wallet after I've cleaned 
up. I'm a mess of gore and dust. Is it interesting 
stuff?" dreading her answer. 

"The wallet? I did not look into it. I had no 
right." 

" Ah ! Well, I'll be back in two jigs." 

He hurried off, relieved to learn that the secret 
was still beyond Kitty's knowledge. Of course 
Hawksley wouldn't carry anything in the wallet 
by which his true identity might be made known. 
Still, there would be stuff to excite her interest and 
suspicion. Hawksley had shown her some of that 
three hundred thousand probably. WTiat a game! 

He would say nothing about his own adventures 
and discoveries. He worked on the theory that the 
best time to tell about something was after it had be- 
come a fact. But no theory is perfect; and in this in- 



248 The Drums of Jeopardy 

stance his reticence was going to cost him intolerable 
agony in the near future. 

Within a quarter of an hour he was back in the 
living room. Kitty was out of sight; probably had 
curled up on the divan again. He would not disturb 
her. Hawksley's wallet! He drew a chair under 
the reading lamp and explored the wallet. Money 
and bonds he rather expected, but the customs ap- 
praiser's receipt was like a buffet. The emeralds 
belonged honorably to his guest! All his own plans 
were knocked galley -west by this discovery. 

An odd sense of indignation blazed up in him, as 
though someone had imposed upon him. The sport 
was gone, the fun of the thing; it became merely 
official business. To appropriate a pair of smuggled 
emeralds was a first-class sporting proposition, with a 
humorous twist. As it stood now, he would be pick- 
ing Hawksley's pocket; and he wasn't rogue enough 
for that. Hang the luck! 

Emeralds, rubies, sapphires, pearls, and diamonds! 
No doubt many of them with histories in a bag 
hung to his neck and all these thousands of miles' 
Not since the advent of the Gaekwar of Baroda into 
San Francisco, in 1910, had so many fine stones 
passed through that port of entry. 

But why hadn't Hawksley inquired about them? 
Stoic indifference? A good loser? How had he got 
through the customs without a lot of publicity? 
The Russian consul of the old regime probably; 



The Drums of Jeopardy 249 

and an appraiser who was a good sport. To have 
come safely to his destination, and then to have lost 
out ! The magnificent careless generosity of putting 
the wallet behind Kitty's flatirons, to be hers if he 
didn't pull through ! Why, this fiddling derelict was 
a man! Stood up and fought Karlov with his bare 
fists; wasn't ashamed to weep over his mother's 
photograph; and fiddled like Heifetz. All right. 
This Johnny Two-Hawks, as Kitty persisted in call- 
ing him, was going to reach his Montana ranch. His 
friend Cutty would take it upon himself to see to 
that 

It struck him that after all he would have to play 
the game as he had planned it. Those gems falling 
into the hands of the Federal agents would surely 
bring to light Hawksley's identity; and Hawksley 
should have his chance. 

Cutty then came upon the will. Somehow the 
pathos of it went deep into his heart. The poor 
devil! a will that hadn't been witnessed, the hand- 
writing the same as that on the passport. If he had 
fallen into the hands of the police they would have 
justifiably locked him up as a murder suspect. Two- 
Hawks! It was a small world. He returned the 
contents to the wallet, leaving out the will, however. 
This he thrust into a drawer. 

"Coffee?" said Kitty at his elbow. 

"Kitty? I'd forgotten you! I thought I smelt 
loffee. Just what I wanted, too, only I hadn't brains 



250 The Drums of Jeopardy 

enough left to think of it. Smells better than any- 
thing Kuroki makes. . . . Tastes better, too. 
You're going to make some lucky duffer a fine wife." 

"Is there anything you can tell me, Cutty?" 

"A whole lot, Kitty; only I'm twenty years too 
old." 

"I mean the wallet. Who is he?" 

Cutty drained the cup slowly. A good coherent 
lie, to appease Kitty's curiosity; half a truth, some- 
thing hard to nail. He set down the empty cup, 
building. By the time he had filled his pipe and lit 
it he was ready. 

Something bored up through the subconscious, 
however a query. Why hadn't he told her the plain 
truth at the start? Wasn't on account of the drums. 
He hadn't kept her in the dark because of the drums. 
He could have trusted her with that part of it his 
tentative piracy. That to divulge Hawksley's iden- 
tity would be a menace to her peace of mind now ap- 
peared ridiculous; and yet he had worked forward 
from this assumption. No answer to the query. 
Generally he thought clearly enough; but somewhere 
along this route he had made a muddle of things and 
couldn't find the spot. The only point clearly de- 
fined was that he should wish to keep her out of 
the affair because there were elements of positive 
danger. But somewhere inside of him was a question 
asking for recognition, and it eluded him. Nothing 
could be solved until this question got out of the fog. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 251 

Even now he might risk the whole truth; but the lie 
he had woven appeared too good to waste. 

Human frailty. The most accomplished human 
being is the finished liar. Never to forget a detail, 
to remember step by step the windings, over a ticklish 
road. And Cutty, for all his wide newspaper ex- 
perience, was a poor liar because he had been brought 
up on facts. Perhaps his lie might have passed had 
he not been so fagged. The physical labours of the 
night had dulled his perceptions. 

"Ah, but that tastes good!" as he blew forth a 
wavering ring of smoke. 

"It ought to have at least one merit," replied 
Kitty, wrinkling her nose. What a fine profile 
Cutty had ! " Now, who and what is he ? I'm dying 
to know." 

"An odd story; probably hundreds like it. You 
see, the Bolsheviki have driven out of the country 
or killed all the nobles and bourgeoisie. Some of 
them have escaped into China, Sweden, India, 
wherever they could find an open route. To his 
story there are many loose ends, and Hawksley is not 
the talking kind. You mustn't repeat what I tell 
you. Hawksley, with all that money and a forged 
English passport, would have a good deal of trouble 
explaining if he ran afoul the police. There is no real 
proof that the money is his or Gregorys . As a mat- 
ter of fact, it is Gregor's, and Hawksley was bringing 
it to him. Hawksley is Gregor's protege." 



52 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Kitty nodded. This dovetailed with what Johnny 
Two-Hawks had told her that night. 

"How the two came together originally I don't 
know. Gregor was in his younger days a great 
violinist, but unknown to the American public. Early 
in his career he speculated with his concert earnings 
and turned a pot of money. He dropped the pro- 
fessional career for that of a country gentleman. He 
had a handsome estate, and lived sensibly. He sent 
Hawksley to England to school and spent a good 
deal of time there with him, teaching him how to 
play the fiddle, for which it seems Hawksley had a 
natural bent. He had to Anglicize his name; for 
Two-Hawks would have made people laugh. To 
be a gentleman, Kitty, one does not have to 
oe a prince or a grand duke. Gregor was a pol- 
ished gentleman, and he turned Hawksley into 
one." 

Again Kitty nodded, her eyes sparkling. 

"The Russ the educated Russ is a queer 
biscuit. Got to have a finger in some political pie, 
and political pies in Russia before the war were lese- 
majesty. The result Gregor got in wrong with his 
secret society and the political police and was forced 
to fly to save his life. But before he fled he had all 
his convertible funds transferred. Only his estate 
was confiscated. Hawksley was in London when the 
war broke out. There was a lot of red tape, naturally, 
regarding the funds. I shan't bother you with that., 



The Drums of Jeopardy 253 

Hawksley, hoping to better his protector's future, 
returned to Russia and joined his regiment and 
fought until the Czar abdicated. Foretasting the 
trend of events, he tried to get back to England, but 
that was impossible. He was permitted to retire to 
the Gregor estate, where he remained until the up- 
rising of the Bolsheviki. Then he started across the 
world to join Gregor." 

"That was brave." 

"It certainly was. I imagine that Hawksley's 
journey has that of Ulysses laid away on the shelf. 
Karlov was the head of the society which had voted 
Gregor's death. So he had agents watching Hawks- 
ley. And Karlov himself undertook the chase across 
Russia, China, and the Pacific." 

"I'm glad I gave him something to eat. But 
Gregor, a valet in a hotel, with all that money!" 

"The red tape." 

"What a dizzy world we live in, Cutty!" 

"Dizzy is the word." Cutty sighed. His yam 
had passed a very shrewd censor. "Karlov feels it 
his duty to kill off all his countrymen who do not 
agree with his theories. He wanted these funds 
here, but Hawksley was too clever for him. Remem- 
ber, now, not a word of this to Hawksley. I tell you 
this in confidence." 

"I promise." 

"You'll have to spend the night here. It's round 
four, and the power has been shut off. There's the 



254 The Drums of Jeopardy 

stairs, but it would be dawn before you reach the 
street." 

"Who cares?" 

"I do. I don't believe you're in a good mood to 
send back to that garlicky warren. I wish to the 
Lord you'd leave it!" 

"It's difficult to find anything desirable within my 
means. Rents are terrifying. I'll sleep on the 
divan. A rug or a blanket. I'm a silly fool, I 
Suppose." 

"You can have a guest room." 

"I'd rather the divan; less scandalous. Cutty, I 
forgot. He played for me." 

"What? He did?" 

"I had to run out of the room because some things 
he said choked me up. Didn't care whether he died 
or not. He was even lonelier than I. I lay down on 
the divan, and then I heard music. Funny, but 
somehow I fancied he was calling me back; and I had 
to hang on to the divan. Cutty, he is a great 
violinist." 

"Are you fond of music?" 

"I am mad about it! I'm always running round 
to concerts; and I'd walk from Battery to Bronx to 
hear a good violinist." 

Fiddles and Irish hearts. Swiftly came the 
vision of Hawksley fiddling the heart out of this 
lonely girl if he had the chance. And he, Cutty, 
was going to fascinate her with what? He rose and 



The Drums of Jeopardy 255 

took her by the shoulders, bringing her round so that 
the light was full in her face. Slate-blue eyes. 

"Kitty, what would you say if I kissed you?" 
Inwardly he asked : " Now, what the devil made me 
say that?" 

The sinister and cynical idea leaped from its am- 
bush. "Why, Cutty, I I don't believe I should 
mind. It's it's you!" Vile wretch that she was! 

Cutty, noting the lily succeeding the rose, did not 
kiss her. Fate has a way of reversing the illogical 
and giving it logical semblance. It was perfectly 
logical that he should not kiss her; and yet that was 
exactly what he should have done. The fatherliness 
of the salute and he couldn't have made it any- 
thing else would have shamed Kitty's peculiar 
state of mind out of existence and probably sent back 
to its eternal sleep that which was strangely reawak- 
ing in his lonely heart. 

"Forgive me, Kitty. That wasn't exactly nice of 
me, even if I was trying to be funny." 

She tore away from him, flung herself upon the 
divan, her face in the pillows, and let down the 
dam. 

This wild sobbing apparently without any reason 
terrified Cutty. He put both hands into his hair, 
but he drew them out immediately without retaining 
any of the thinning gray locks. Done up, both of 
them; that was the matter. He longed to console 
her, but knew not what to say or how to act. He had 



256 The Drums of Jeopardy 

not seen a woman weep like this in so many years 
that he had forgotten the remedies. 

Should he call the nurse? But that would only 
add to Kitty's embarrassment, and the nurse would 
naturally misinterpret the situation. He couldn't 
kneel and put his arms round her; and yet it was a 
situation that called for arms and endearments. He 
had sense enough to recognize that. Molly's girl 
crying like that, and he able to do nothing! It 
was intolerable. But what was she weeping about? 

Covering the divan was a fine piece of Bokhara 
embroidery. He drew this down over Kitty and 
tucked her in, turned off the light, and proceeded to 
his bedroom. 

Kitty's sobs died eventually. There was an 
occasional hiccup. That, too, disappeared. To 
play or even think of playing a game like that! 
She was despicable. A silly little fool, too, to 
suppose that so keen a mind as Cutty's would not 
see through the artifice ! What was happening to her 
that she could let such a thought into her head? 

By and by she was able to pick up Cutty's narra- 
tive and review it. Not a word about the drums of 
jeopardy, the mark of the thong round Hawksley's 
neck. Hadn't she let him know that she knew the 
author of that advertisement offering to buy the 
drums, no questions asked? Very well, then; if he 
would not tell her the truth she would have to find it 
out herself. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 257 

Meanwhile, Cutty sat on the edge of his bed staring 
blankly at the rug, trying to find a pick-up to the 
tangled emotions that beset him. One thing issued 
clearly: He had wanted to kiss the child. He still 
wanted to kiss her. Why hadn't he? Unanswer- 
able. It was still unanswerable even when the 
pallor of dawn began slowly to absorb the artificial 
light of his bed lamp. 



CHAPTER XXIH 

WHEN Cutty awoke having had about two 
hours' sleep he was instantly conscious 
that the zest had gone from the adventure. 
It had resolved itself into official business into which 
he had projected himself gratuitously; and having 
assumed the offices of chief factor, he would have to 
see the affair through, victim of his own greediness. 
It did not serve to marshal excuses. He had frankly 
entered the affair in the role of buccaneer; and here he 
was, high and dry on the reef. 

The drums of jeopardy, so far as he was concerned, 
had been shot into the moon two hundred thousand 
miles out of reach. He found himself resenting 
Hawksley's honesty in the matter of the customs. 

But immediately this sense of resentment caused 
him to chuckle. Certainly some ancestor of his had 
been a Black Bart or a Galloping Dick. 

He would put a few straight questions to Hawks- 
ley, however. To have lost all those precious stones 
and not to have inquired about them was a bit foggy, 
wasn't normal, human. Unless bang on the plexus 
came the thought! the beggar had hidden them 
himself. He had been exceedingly clever in hiding 
the wallet. Come to think of it, he hadn't mentioned 

258 



The Drums of Jeopardy 259 

that, either. Of course he had hidden the stones 
either in Gregor's apartment or in Kitty's. Blind as 
a bat. Now he understood why Karlov had made a 
prisoner of Coles. The old buzzard had sensed a 
trap and had countered it. The way of the trans- 
gressor was hard. His punishment for entertaining 
a looter's idea would be work when he wanted to loaf 
and enjoy himself. 

Arriving at Hawksley's door he was confronted by 
a spectacle not without its humorous touch: The 
nurse extending a bowl and Hawksley staring at the 
sky beyond the window, stonily. 

"But you must!" insisted Miss Frances 

"Chops or beef steak!" 

"It will give you nausea." 

"Permit me to find out. Dash it, I'm hungry!" 
Hawksley declared. "I'm no fever patient. A 
smart rap on the head; nothing more than that. 
Healthy food will draw the blood down from there. 
Haven't lost anything but a few hours of conscious- 
ness, and you treat me as though I'd been jolly well 
peppered with shrapnel and gassed. Touch that 
stuff? Rather not! Chops or beefsteak!" 

"Let him have it, Miss Frances," advised Cutty 
from the doorway. 

"But it's unusual," replied the nurse as a final 
protest. 

"Give it a try. Is he strong enough to sit up 
through breakfast?" 



260 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"He's really not fit. But if he insists on doing the 
one he might as well do the other." 

"Righto!" from the patient. 

"Will you tell Kuroki to make it a beefsteak 
breakfast for four? I know how Mr. Hawksley 
feels. Been through the same bout." Cutty wanted 
Miss Frances out of the room. 

"Very well. Only, I've- warned him." Miss 
Frances left, somewhat miffed. 

"Thanks," said Hawksley, smiling. "She thinks 
I'm a canary." 

"Whereas you're an eagle." 

"Or a vulture." 

Cutty drew up a chair. "Frankly, I believe a good 
breakfast will put you a peg up." 

"A beefsteak!" Hawksley stared ecstatically at 
the ceiling. "You see, I'm naturally tough. Al- 
ways went hi for rough sports football, rowing, 
boxing. Poor old Stefani's idea; and not so bad, 
either. Of course he was always worrying about my 
hands; but I always took great care to keep them 
soft and pliant. Which sounds rummy, considering 
the pounding I used to give and take. My word, I 
used to go to bed with my hands done up in oint- 
ments like a professional beauty! Of course I'm 
dizzy yet, and the bally spot is sore; but solid food 
and some exercise will have me off your hands in no 
time. I don't fancy being coddled, y'know. I've 
been trouble enough." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 261 

"Don't let that worry you. I'll bring some togs 
in; flannels and soft shirts. We're about the same 
height. Anyhow, the difference won't be noticeable 
in flannels. I've had to tell Miss Conover a bit of 
fiction. I'll tell you, so if need arises you can back 
me up." 

When Cutty finished his romance Hawksley 
frowned. "All said and done, if I'm not that 
splendid old chap's protege, what am I? But for his 
patience and kindness I'd have run true to the blood. 
He was with me at the balancing age, when a chap 
becomes a man or a rotter. He actually gave up a 
brilliant career because of me. He is a great 
musician, with that strange faculty of taking souls 
out of people and untwisting them. I have the gift, 
too, in a way; but there's always a bit of the devil in 
me when I play. Natural bent, I fancy. And 
they've killed him!" 

"No," said Cutty, slowly. "But this is for your 
ear alone: He's alive; and one of these days I'll 
bring him to you. So buck up." 

"Alive! Stefani alive!" whispered Hawksley. 
He stretched out his hand rather blindly, and Cutty 
was surprised at the strength of the grip. "Makes 
me feel choky. I say, are all Americans good 
Samaritans?" 

Cutty put this aside because he did not care to 
disillusion Hawksley. "I found an appraiser's 
receipt in your wallet. You carried some fine 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

jewels. Did you hide them or did Karlov get them? 
It struck me as odd that you haven't inquired about 
them." The change that came into Hawksley's 
face alarmed Cutty. The rich olive skin became 
chalky and the eyes closed. "What is it? Shall I 
call Miss Frances?" 

"No." Hawksley opened his eyes, but looked 
dully straight ahead. " The stones ! I was trying to 
forget! My God, I was trying to forget!" 

"But they were yours?" Cutty was mystified 
beyond expression. 

"Yes, mine, mine, mine!" panting. "Damn 
them! Some day I'll tell you. But just now I can't 
toe the mark. I was trying to forget them ! Against 
my heart, gnawing into my soul like the beetle of the 
Spanish Inquisition!" Silence. "But they were 
future bread and butter for Gregor as well as for 
myself. They got them, and may they damn 
Karlov as they have damned me! I had no chance 
when I returned to Gregorys. They were on me 
instantly. I put up a fight, but I'd come from a 
lighted room and was practically blind. Let them 
go. Most of those stones came out of hell, anyhow. 
Let them go. There is an unknown grave between 
those stones and me." 

The level despair of the tone appalled Cutty. A 
crime somewhere? There was still a bottom to this 
affair he had not plumbed? He rose, deeply agitated. 

"I'll fetch those togs for you. Miss Conover wfll 



The Drums of Jeopardy 263 

breakfast with us, and the sight of her will give you a 
brace. I'm sorry. I had to ask you." 

"Beefsteak and a pretty girl! That's something. 
I suppdse she was trapped by the lift not running." 
Hawksley was trying to meet Cutty halfway to 
cover up the tragedy. *'I say, why the deuce do you 
let her live where she does?" 

"Because I'm not legally her guardian. She is the 
daughter of the man and woman I loved best. All I 
can do is to watch over her. She lives on her earn- 
ings as a newspaper write*. I'd give her half of 
all I have if I had the least idea she would accept 
it." 

"Fond of her?" 

"Fond of her!" repeated Cutty. "Why, of 
course I'm fond of her!" There was a touch of 
indignation in his tone. 

"Is she fond of you?" 

"I suppose so." What was the chap driving at? 

"Then marry her," suggested Hawksley with a 
cynical smile; "make a settlement and give her her 
freedom. Simple enough. What?" 

Cutty stepped back, stunned and terrified. "She 
would laugh at me!" 

"You never can tell," replied Hawksley, main- 
taining the crooked smile. The devil was blazing in 
his eyes now. "Try it. It's being done every day; 
even here in this big America of yours. From the 
European point of view you have compromised her- 



264 The Drums of Jeopardy 

or she has compromised herself, by spending the 
night here. Convention has been disregarded. A 
ripping good chance, I call it. You tell me she 
wouldn't accept benefits, and you want to help her. 
If she's the kind I believe her to be, even if she 
refuses you she will not be angry. You never can 
tell what woman will or won't do." 

An old and forgotten bit of mental machinery 
began to set up a clitter-clatter in Cutty's brain. 
Marry Kitty? Make a settlement, and then give her 
her freedom? Rot! Girls of Kitty's calibre were 
above such expediencies. He tried to resurrect his 
interest in the drums of jeopardy, which he might 
now appropriate without having to shanghai his 
conscience. The clitter-clatter smothered it; indeed, 
this new racket upset and demoralized the well- 
ordered machinery of his thinking apparatus as 
applied daily. Marry Kitty ! 

"I'm old enough to be her father." 

"What's that to do with it so long as convention is 
satisfied?" 

Cutty was so shaken and confused that he missed 
the tragic irony of the voice. All the receptive 
avenues to his brain seemed to have shut down 
suddenly. He was conscious only of the clitter- 
clatter. Marry Kitty! 

"You can't settle money on her," went on Hawks- 
ley, "without scandal. You can't offer her any- 
thing without offending her. And you can't let 



The Drums of Jeopardy 265 

her go to rust without having her bit of good 
times." 

"Utterly impossible," said Cutty, to the idea 
rather than to his tormentor. 

" Oh, of course, if you have an affair No, God 
forgive me, I don't mean that! I'm a damned 
ingrate! But your bringing up those stones and 
knocking off the top of all the misery piling up in my 
heart! I was only trying to hurt you, hurt myself, 
everybody. Please have a little patience with me, 
for I've come out of hell!" Hawksley turned aside 
his head. 

"Buck up," said Cutty, his blazing wrath dropping 
to a smoulder. " I'll fetch those togs." 

What had the boy done to fill him with such 
tragic bitterness? Was he Two-Hawks? Cutty 
dismissed this doubt instantly. He recalled the 
episode of the boy's conduct when confronted by the 
photograph of his mother. No human being could 
be a play actor in such a moment. The boy's 
emotion had been deep and real. Cutty recognized 
the fact that he had become as a block in the middle 
of a Chinese puzzle; only Fate could move him to his 
appointed place. 

But offer marriage to Kitty so that he could 
provide for her! Mechanically he rummaged his 
clothes press for the suit he was to take to Hawksley. 
Well, why not? He could settle five thousand a 
year on her. His departure for the Balkans he 



266 The Drums of Jeopardy 

might be gone a year or more could be legally 
construed as desertion. And with pretty clothes and 
freedom she would soon find some young chap to her 
liking. But would a girl like Kitty see it from his 
point of view? The marriage could take place an 
hour or two before he went aboard his ship. Hang 
it, Hawksley wasn't so far off. Kitty couldn't 
possibly be offended if he laid the business squarely 
on the table. To provide for Molly's girl ! 

When Kuroki announced that breakfast was 
ready, Cutty went into the living room for Kitty, 
whom he had not yet seen. He found her by a 
window fascinated by the splendour of the panorama 
as seen in the morning light. Not a vestige of the 
tears and disorder in which he had left her. What 
had been behind those tears? Dainty and refreshing 
to the eye as though she had stepped out of a band- 
box. Compromised? That was utter rot! Wasn't 
Miss Frances here? Glitter-clatter, clitter-clatter.' 
But Cutty was not aware that it was no longer in his 
head but in his heart. 

"Breakfast is served, Your Highness," he an- 
nounced with a grave salaam. 

Kitty pirouetted. For some reason she could 
not explain to herself she wanted to laugh, sing, 
dance. Perhaps it was because she was only 
twenty -four. Or it might have had its origin in the 
tonicky awakening among all these beautiful fur- 
nishings. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 267 

She assumed a haughty expression such as the 
Duchess of Gerolstein assumes when she appoints the 
private to the office of generalissimo and with a 
careless" wave of the hand said: "Summon His 
Highness!" 



CHAPTER XXIV 

BETWEEN Cutty's heart and his throat there 
was very little space at that moment for the 
propelment of sound. Kitty Conover had 
innocently he understood that almost immediately 
and recovered his mental balance Kitty had inno- 
cently thrown a bomb at his feet. It did not matter 
that it was a dud. The result was the same. For a 
second, then, all the terror, all the astounding 
suspension of thought and action attending the 
arrival of a shell on the battlefield were his. 

As an aftermath he would have liked very much to 
sit down. Instead, maintaining the mock gravity 
of his expression, he offered his arm, which Kitty 
accepted, still the Grand Duchess of Gerolstein. 
Pompously they marched into the dining room. But 
as Kitty saw Hawksley she dropped the air con- 
fusedly, and hesitated. "Good gracious!" she whis- 
pered. 

"What's the matter?" Cutty whispered in turn. 

"My clothes!" 

"What's the matter with 'em? " 

"I slept in them!" 

If that wasn't like a woman! It did not matter 
how she might look to an old codger, setat. fifty-two; 

268 



The Drums of Jeopardy 269 

he didn't count. But a handsome young chap, 
now, in white flannels and sport shirt, his head 
bound picturesquely 

"Don't let that bother you," he said. "Those 
duds of his are mine." 

Still, Cutty was grateful for this little diversion. 
As he drew back Kitty's chair he was wholly himself 
again. At once he dictated the trend of the con- 
versation, moved it whither he willed, into strange 
channels, gave them all a glimpse of his amazing 
versatility, with vivid shafts of humour to light up 
corners. 

Kuroki, who had travelled far with his master these 
ten years, sometimes paused in his rounds to nod 
affirmatively. 

Hawksley listened intently, wondering a bit. 
What was the dear old beggar's idea, throwing such 
fireworks round at breakfast? He stole a glance at 
Kitty to see how she was taking it and caught her 
stealing a glance at him. Instantly both switched 
back to Cutty. Shortly the little comedy was 
repeated because neither could resist the invisible 
force of some half-conscious inquiry. Third time, 
they smiled unembarrassedly. Mind you, they were 
both hanging upon Cutty's words; only their eyes 
were like little children at church, restless. It was 
spring. 

Without being exactly conscious of what he was 
doing, Hawksley began to dress Kitty that is, he 



270 Tlie Drums of Jeopardy 

visualized her in ball gowns, in sports, in furs. He 
put her on horses, in opera boxes, in limousines. But 
in none of these pictures could he hold her; she in- 
sisted upon returning to her kitchen to fry bacon and 
eggs. 

Then came a twisted thought, rejected only to 
return; a surprising thought, so alluring that the 
sense of shame, of chivalry, could not press it back. 
Cutty's words began to flow into one ear and out of 
the other, without sense. There was in his heart 
put there by the recollection of the jewels an 
indescribable bitterness, a desperate cynicism that 
urged him to strike out, careless of friend or foe. 
Who could say what would happen to him when he 
left here? A flash of spring madness, then to go 
forth devil-may-care. 

She was really beautiful, full of unsuspected fire. 
To fan it into white flame. The whole affair would 
depend upon whether she cared for music. If she 
did he would pluck the soul out of her. She had 
saved his life. Well, what of that? He had broken 
yonder man's bread and eaten his salt. Still, what 
of that? Hadn't he come from a race of scoundrels? 
The blood he had smothered and repressed it all his 
life to unleash it once, happen what might. If she 
were really fond of music! 

Once again Kitty's glance roved back to Hawksley. 
This time she encountered a concentration in his 
unwavering stare. She did not quite like it- Per- 



The Drums of Jeopardy 271 

haps he was only thinking about something and 
wasn't actually seeing her. Still, it quieted down 
(the fluttering gayety of her mood. There was a sun 
spot of her own that became visible whenever her 
interest in Cutty's monologue lagged. Perhaps 
Hawksley had his sun spot. 

"And so," she heard Cutty say, "Mr. Hawksley is 
going to become an American citizen. Kitty, what 
are some of the principles of good citizenship?" 

"To be nice to policemen. Not to meddle with 
politics, because it is vulgar. To vote perfunctorily. 
To 'let George do it' when there are reforms to be 
brought about. To keep your hat on when the flag 
goes by because otherwise you will attract attention. 
To find fault without being able to offer remedies. 
,To keep in debt because life here in America would be 
monotonous without bill collectors." 

Cutty interrupted with a laugh. "Kitty, you'll 
scare Hawksley off the map!" 

"Let him know the worst at once," retorted Kitty, 
flashing a smile at the victim. 

"Spoofing me what?" said Hawksley, appealing 
to his host. 

This quality of light irony in a woman was a 
distinct novelty to Hawksley. She had humour, 
then? So much the better. An added zest to the 
game he was planning. He recalled now that she 
was not of the clinging kind either. A woman with 
a humorous turn of mind was ten times more elusive 



272 The Drums of Jeopardy 

than a purely sentimental one. Give him an hour or 
two with that old Amati if she really cared for 
music! She would be coming to the apartment 
again some afternoon, when his host was out of the 
way. Better still, he would call her by telephone^ 
the plea of loneliness. Scoundrel? Of course he 
was. He was not denying that. He would embark 
upon this affair without the smug varnish of self -lies. 
Fire to play with it! 

He ate his portion of beefsteak, potatoes, and toast, , 
and emptied his coffee cup. It was really the first 
substantial meal he had had in many hours. A 
feeling of satisfaction began to permeate him. He 
smiled at Miss Frances, who shook her head dubi- 
ously. She could not quite make him out pathologic- 
ally. Perhaps she had been treating him as shell- 
shocked when there was nothing at all the matter 
with his nerves. 

Presently Kuroki came in with a yellow envelope, 
which he laid at the side of Cutty's plate. 

" Telegrams ! " exploded Cutty. " Hang it, I don't 
want any telegrams!" 

"Open it and have it over with," suggested Kitty. 

"If you don't mind." 

It was the worst kind of news a summons to 
Washington for conference. Which signified that 
the Government's plans were completed and that 
shortly he would be on his way to Piraeus. 

A fine muddle! Hawksley in no condition to send 



The Drums of Jeopardy 273 

upon his way; Kitty's affair unsettled; the emeralds 
still in camera obscura; Karlov at liberty with his 
infernal schemes, and Stefani Gregor his prisoner. 
Wild horses, pulling him two ways. A word, and 
Karlov would come to the end of his rope suddenly. 
But if he issued that word the whole fabric he had 
erected so painstakingly would blow away like card- 
board. If those emeralds turned up in the possession 
of any man but himself the ensuing complications 
would be appalling. For he himself would be 
forced to tell what he knew about the stones; Hawks- 
ley would be thrust conspicuously into the limelight, 
and sooner or later some wild anarch would kill him. 
Known, Hawksley would not have one chance in a 
thousand. Kitty would be dragged into the light 
and harassed and his own attitude toward her mis- 
understood. All these things, if he acted upon his 
oath. Nevertheless, he determined to risk sus- 
pension of operations until he returned from Wash- 
ington. There was one sound plank to cling to. He 
had first-hand information that anarchistic elements 
would remain in their noisome cellars until May first. 
If he were not ordered abroad until after that, no 
harm would follow his suspension of operations. 

"Bad news?" asked Kitty, anxiously. 

"Aggravating rather than bad. I am called to 
Washington. May be gone four or five days. 
Official business. Leaves things here a bit in the 
air." 



274 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"I'll stay as long as you need me," said Miss 
Frances. 

"I'd rather a man now. You've been a brick. 
You need rest. I've a chap in mind. He'll make 
our friend here toe the mark. A physical instructor, 
ex-pugilist; knows all about broken heads." 

"I say, that's ripping!" cried Hawksley. "Give 
me your man, and I'll be off your hands within a 
week. The sooner you stop fussing over me the 
sooner the crack in my head will cease to bother 
me." 

"Kuroki will cook for you and Ryan will put you 
through the necessary stunts. The roof, when the 
weather permits, makes a good exercising ground. 
If you'll excuse me I'll do some telephoning. Kuroki, 
pack my bag for a five-day trip to Washington. I'll 
take you down to the office, Kitty." 

"I don't fancy I ever will quite understand you," 
said Hawksley, leaning back in his chair, listlessly. 
"Honestly, now, you'd be perfectly justified in 
bundling me off to some hotel. I have funds. Why 
all this pother about me? " 

Cutty smiled. "When I tackle anything I like to 
carry it through. I want to put you on your train." 

"To be reasonably sure that I shan't come back?" 

"Precisely" but without smiling. With a vague 
yet inclusive nod Cutty hurried off. 

"It is because he is such a thorough sportsman, 
Mr. Hawksley," Kitty explained. "Having accepted 



The Drums of Jeopardy 275 

certain obligations he cannot abrogate them off- 
hand." 

"Did I bother you last night? I mean, did my 
fiddling?" 

"Mercy, no! From the hurdy-gurdy of my child- 
hood, down to Kubelik and his successors, I have 
been more or less music-mad. You play wonder- 
fully!" Sudden, inexplicable shyness. 

Hawksley smiled. An hour or two with that old 
Amati. 

"I am only an unconventional amateur. You 
should hear Stefani Gregor when the mood is on. 
He puts something into your soul that makes you 
wish to go forth at once to do some fine, unselfish 
act." 

Stefani Gregor! He thought of the clear white 
soul of the man who had surrendered imperishable 
fame to stand between him and the curse of his blood ; 
who had for ten years stood between his mother and 
the dissolute man whom irony had selected for the 
part of father. Ten years of diplomacy, tact, 
patience. Stefani Gregor! There was the blood, 
predatory and untamed; and there was the spirit 
which the old musician had moulded. He could not 
harm this girl. Dead or alive, Stefani Gregor would 
not permit it. 

Hawksley rose slowly and without further speech 
walked to the corridor door. He leaned against the 
jamb for a moment, then went on to his bedroom. 



276 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"I'm afraid that breakfast was too much for him," 
the nurse ventured. "An odd young man." 

"^ery," replied Kitty, rather absently. She was 
trying to analyze that flash of shyness. 

Meantime, Cutty sat down before the telephone. 
He wanted Kitty out of town during his absence. 
In her present excitable mood he was afraid to trust 
her. She might surrender to any mad impulse that 
stirred her fancy. So he called up Burlingame, 
Kitty's chief, and together they manufactured an 
assignment that was always a pleasant recollection 
to Kitty. 

Next, Cutty summoned Professor Billy Ryan to 
the wire, argued and cajoled for ten minutes, and won 
his point. He was always dealing in futures bank- 
ing his favours here and there and drawing checks 
against them when needed. 

Then he tackled his men and issued orders sus- 
pending operations temporarily. He was asked what 
they should do in case Karlov came out into the open. 
He answered in such an event not to molest him but 
to watch and take note of those with whom he asso- 
ciated. There were big things in the air, and only 
he himself had hold of all the threads. He relayed 
this information to the actual chief of the local ser- 
vice, from whom he had borrowed his men. There 
was no protest. Green spectacles. 

Quarter to nine he and Kitty entered a subway car 
and found a corner to themselves, while Karlov's 



TTw. Drums of Jeopardy 277 

agent was content with a strap in the crowded end 
of the car. 

Karlov for once had outthought Cutty. He had 
withdrawn his watchers, confident that after a day 
or so his unknown opponent would withdraw his. 
During the lull Karlov matured his plans, then re- 
sumed operations, calculating that he would have 
some forty -odd hours' leeway. 

His agent was clever. He had followed Kitty 
from Eightieth Street to the Knickerbocker Hotel. 
There he had lost her. He had loitered on the side- 
walk until midnight, and was then convinced that the 
girl had slipped by. So he had returned to Eightieth 
Street; but as late as five in the morning she had not 
returned. 

This agent had foflowed the banker after his visit 
to Kitty. He had watched the banker's house, seen 
Cutty arrive and depart. Taking a chance shot hi 
the dark, he had followed Cutty to the office building, 
learned that Cutty was the owner and lived in the 
loft. As Kitty had not returned home by five he 
proceeded to take a second chance shot in the dark, 
stationing himself across the street from the entrance 
to the office building, thereby solving the riddle up- 
permost in Karlov's mind. He had found the man 
in the dress suit. 

"Cutty, I'm sorry I was such a booby last night. 
But it was the best thing that could have happened. 
The pentupness of it was simply killing me. I hadn't 



278 The Drums of Jeopardy 

any one to come to but you any one who would un- 
derstand. I don't know of any man who has a better 
right to kiss me. I know. You were just trying to 
buck me up." 

Glitter-clatter! Glitter-clatter! Cutty stared 
hard at the cement floor. Marry her, settle a sum 
on her, and give her her freedom. Molly's girl. Give 
her a chance to play. He turned. 

"Kitty, do you trust me?" 

"Of all the foolish questions!" She pressed his 
arm . " Why shouldn't I trust you ? ' ' 

"Will you marry me? Wait! Let me make clear 
to you what I have in mind. I'm all alone. I 
loved your mother. It breaks my heart that while 
I have everything in the way of luxuries you have 
nothing. I can't settle a sum on you an income. 
The world wouldn't understand. Your friends would 
be asking questions among themselves. This tele- 
gram from Washington means but one thing: that 
in a few weeks I shall be on my way to the East. I 
shall be mighty unhappy if I have to go leaving you 
in the rut. This is my idea: marry me an hour or 
so before the ship sails. I will leave you a comfort- 
able income. Lord knows how long I shall be gone. 
Well, I won't write. After a year you can regain 
your freedom on the grounds of desertion. Simple 
as falling off a log. It's the one logical way I can 
help you. Will you?" 

Station after station flashed by. Kitty continued 



The Drums of Jeopardy 279 

to stare through the window across the way. By 
and by she turned her face toward him, her eyes 
shining with tears. 

" Cutty, there is going to be a nice place in heaven 
for you some day. I understand. I believe Mother 
understands, too. Am I selfish? I can't say No to 
you and I can't say Yes. Yet I should be a liar if 
I did not say that everything in me leaps toward the 
idea. It is both hateful and fascinating. Common 
sense says Yes; and something else in me says No. 
I like dainty things, dainty surroundings. I want 
to travel, to see something of the world. I once 
thought I had creative genius, but I might as well 
face the fact that I haven't. Only by accident will 
I ever earn more than I'm earning now. In a few 
years I'll grow old suddenly. You know what the 
newspaper game does to women. The rush and 
hurry of it, the excitements, the ceaseless change. 
It is a furnace, and women shrivel up in it quicker 
than men." 

"There won't be any nonsense, Batty. An hour 
before I go aboard my ship. I'll go back to the job 
the happiest of men. Molly's girl taken care off 
Just before your father died I promised him I'd keep 
an eye on you. I never forgot, but conditions made 
it impossible. The apartment will be yours as long 
as you need it. Kuroki, of course, goes with me. It's 
merely going by convention on the blind side. To 
leave you something in my will wouldn't serve at all. 



280 The Drums of Jeopardy 

I'm a tough old codger and may be marked down for 
a hale old ninety. All I want is to make you happy 
and carefree." 

"Cutty, I'd like to curl up in some corner and cry, 
gratefully. I didn't know there were such men. I 
just don't know what to do. It isn't as if you were 
asking me to be your wife. And as you say, I can't 
accept money. There is a pride in me that rejects 
the whole thing; but it may be the same fool pride 
that has cut away my friends. I ought to fall on 
your neck with joy; and here I am trying to look 
round corners! You are my father's friend, my 
mother's, mine. Why shouldn't I accept the propo- 
sition? You are alone, too. You have a perfect 
right to do as you please with your money, and I 
have an equally perfect right to accept your gifts. 
We are all afraid of the world, aren't we? That's 
probably at the bottom of my doddering. Cutty, 
what is love?" she broke off, whimsically. 

"Looking into mirrors and hunting for specks," 
he answered, readily. 

"I mean seriously." 

"So do I. Before I went round to the stage en- 
trance to take your mother out to supper I used to 
preen an hour before the mirror. My collar, my 
cravat, my hair, the nap on my stovepipe, my gloves 
terrible things ! And what happened? Your dad, 
dressed in his office clothes, came along like a cyclone, 
walked all over my toes, and swooped up your 



The Drums of Jeopardy 281 

mother right from under my nose. Now just look 
the proposition over from all angles. Think o f 
yourself; let the old world go hang. They'll call it 
alimony. In a year or so you'll be free; and some 
chap like Tommy Conover will come along, and bang! 
You'll know all about love. Here's old Brooklyn 
Bridge. I'll see you to the elevator. All nonsense 
that you should have the least hesitance." 

Fifteen minutes later he was striding along Park 
Row. By the swing of his stride any onlooker 
would have believed that Cutty was Sn a hurry te 
arrive somewhere. Instead, he was only walking. 
Suddenly he stopped in the middle of the sidewalk 
with the two currents of pedestrians flowing on each 
side of him, as a man might stop who saw some won- 
derful cloud effect. But there was nothing ecstatical 
in his expression; on the contrary, there was a species 
of bewildered terror. The psychology of all his 
recent actions had in a flash become vividly clear. 

An unbelievable catastrophe had overtaken him. 
He loved Kitty, loved her with an intense, shielding 
passion, quite unlike that which he had given her 
mother. Such a thing could happen! He offered 
not the least combat; the revelation was too smash- 
ing to admit of any doubt. It was not a recrudes- 
cence of his love for Molly, stirred into action by 
the association with Molly's daughter. He wanted 
Kitty for himself, wanted her with every fibre in 
his body, fiercely. And never could he tell her now. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

The tragic irony of it all numbed him. Fate hadn't 
played the game fairly. He was fifty-two, on the 
far side of the plateau, near sunset. It wasn't a 
square deal. 

Still he stood there on the sidewalk, like a rock in 
the middle of a turbulent stream, rejecting selfish 
thoughts. Marry Kitty, and tell her the truth after- 
ward. He knew the blood of her loyalest of the 
loyal. He could if he chose play that sort of game 
cheat her. He could not withdraw his proposition. 
If she accepted it he would have to carry it through. 
Cheat her. 



CHAPTER XXV 

KITTY hung up her hat and coat. She did 
not pat her hah* or tuck in the loose ends 
before the mirror a custom as invariable 
as sunrise. The coat tree stood at the right of the 
single window, and out of this window Kitty stared 
solemnly, at everything and at nothing. 

Burlingame eyed her seriously. Cutty had given 
him a glimmer of the tale enough to make known 
to him that this pretty, sensible girl, through no 
fault of her own, was in the shadow of some actual 
if unknown danger. And Cutty wanted her out 
of town for a few days. Burlingame had intended 
sending Kitty out of town on an assignment during 
Easter week. An exchange of telegrams that morn- 
ing had closed the gap in time. 

"Well, you might say 'Good morning.' ' 

" I beg your pardon, Burly ! " In newspaper offices 
you belong at once or you never belong; and to 
belong is to have your name sheared to as few sylla- 
bles as possible. You are formal only to the city 
editor, the managing editor, and the auditor. 

"What's the matter?" 

"I've been set in the middle of a fairy story," 
said Kitty, "and I'm wondering if it's worth the 

283 



84 The Drums of Jeopardy 

trouble to try to find a way out. A Knight of the 
Round Table, a prince of chivalry. What would 
you say if you saw one in spats and a black derby?" 

"Why," answered Burlingame, "I suppose I'd 
consider July first as the best thing that could hap- 
pen to me." 

Kitty laughed; and that was what he wanted. 

What had that old rogue been doing now offering 
Kitty his eighteen-story office building? 

"It's odd, isn't it, that I shouldn't possess a little 
'"bistrionic ability. You'd think it would be in my 
blood to act." 

"It is, Kitty; only not to mimic. You're an 
actress, but the Big Dramatist writes your business 
for you. Now, I've got some fairly good news for 
you. An assignment." 

"Work! What is it?" 

"I am going to send you on a visit to the most 
charming movie queen in the business. She is going 
to return to Broadway this autumn, and she has a 
trunkful of plays to read. I have found your judg- 
ment ace-high. Mornings you will read with her; 
afternoons you will visit. She remembers your 
mother, who was the best comedienne of her day. 
So she will be quite as interested in you as you are 
in her. I want you to note her ways, how she amuses 
herself, eats, exercises. I want you to note the con- 
tents of her beautiful home; if she likes dogs or cats 
or horses. You will take a_ camera and get half a 



The Drums of Jeopardy 285 

dozen good pictures, and a page yarn for Easter 
Sunday. Stay as long as she wants you to." 

"But who?" 

Burlingame jerked his thumb toward a photograph 
on the wall. 

"Oh! This will be the most scrumptious event 
in my life. I'm wild about her! But I haven't any 
clothes!" 

Burlingame waved his hands. "I knew I'd hear 
that yodel. Eve didn't have anything to speak of, 
but she travelled a lot. Truth is, Kitty, you'd better 
dress in monotones. She might wake up to the fact 
that you're a mighty pretty young woman and sud- 
denly become temperamental. She has a husband 
round the lot somewhere. Make him think his 
wife is a lucky woman. Here's all the dope intro- 
duction, expenses, and tickets. Train leaves at two- 
fifty. Run along home and pack. Remember, I 
want a page yarn. No flapdoodle or mush; straight 
stuff. She doesn't need any advertising. If you 
go at it right you two will react upon each other as a 
tonic." 

Kitty realized that this little junket was the very 
thing she needed open spaces, long walks in which 
to think out her problem. She hurried home and 
spent the morning packing. When this heartrending 
business was over she summoned Tony Bernini. 

"I am going out of town, Mr. Bernini. I may 
be gone a week." 



286 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"All right, Miss Conover." Bernini hid a smile, 
He knew all about this trip, having been advised by 
Cutty over the wire. 

"Am I being followed any more?" 

"Not that we know of. Still, you never can tell. 
What's your destination?" Kitty told him. "Bet- 
ter not go by train. I can get a fast roadster and run 
you out in a couple of hours. Right after lunch you go 
to the boss's garage and wait for me. I'll take care of 
your grips and camera. I'll follow on your heels." 

"Anybody would consider that Karlov was after 
me instead of Hawksley." 

Bernini smiled. "Miss Conover, the moment 
Karlov puts his hands on you the whole game goes 
blooey. That's the plain fact. There is death in 
this game. These madmen expect to blow up the 
United States on May first. We are easing them 
along because we want the top men in our net. But 
if Karlov takes it into his head to get you, and suc- 
ceeds, he'll have a stranglehold on the whole local 
service; because we'd have to make great concessions 
to free you." 

"Why wasn't I told this at the start?" 

"You were told, indirectly. We did not care to 
frighten you." 

"I'm not frightened," said Kitty. 

"Nope. But we wish to the Lord you were, Miss 
Conover. When you want to come home, wire me 
and I'll motor out for you." 



- . The Drums of Jeopardy 287 

Another fragment. Karlov's agent sought his 
chief and found him in the cellar of the old house, 
sinisterly engaged. The wall bench was littered with 
paraphernalia well known to certain chemists. Had 
the New York bomb squad known of the existence of 
this den, the short hair on their necks would have 
risen. 

"Well?" greeted Karlov, moodily. 

"I have found the man in the dress suit.'* 

"Ah!" 

"He and the Conover girl left that office building 
together this morning, and I followed them to Park 
Row. This man uses the loft of the building for his 
home. No elevator goes up unless you have creden- 
tials. Our man is hiding there, Boris." 

Karlov dry- washed his hands. "We'll send him 
one of the samples if we fail in regard to the girl. 
You say she arrives daily at the newspaper office 
about nine and leaves between five and six?" 

"Every day but Sunday." 

"Good news. Two bolts; one or the other will go 
home." 

About the same time in Cutty's apartment rather 
an amusing comedy took place. Professor Ryan, 
late physical instructor at one of the aviation camps, 
stood Hawksley in front of him and ran his hard hands 
over the young man's body. Miss Frances stood at 
one side, her %rms folded, her expression skeptical. 



288 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Nothin* the matter with you, Bo, but the crack 
on the conk.'* 

"Right-o!" agreed Hawksley. 

"Lemme see your hands. Humph. Soft. Now 
stand on that threshold. That's it. Walk t' th' 
end o' the hall an* back. Step lively." 

"But " began Miss Frances in protest. This 

was cruelty. 

"I'm the doctor, miss," interrupted Ryan, crisply. 
"If he falls down he goes t' bed, an' you stay. If 
he makes it, he follows my instructions." 

When Hawksley returned to the starting line the 
walls rocked, there were two or three blinding stabs 
of pain; but he faced this unusual Irishman with 
never a hint of the torture. A wild longing to be 
gone from this kindly prison to get away from the 
thought of the girl. 

"All right," said Ryan. "Now toddle back t' 
bed." 

"Bed?" 

"Yep. Goin* t' give you a rub that'll start all 
your machinery workin'." 

Docilely Hawksley obeyed. He wasn't going to 
let them know, but that bed was going to be tolerably 
welcome. 

"Well!" said Miss Frances. "I don't see how he 
did it." 

"I do," said the ex-pugilist. "I told him to. 
Either he was a false alarm, or he'd attempt the job 



The Drums of Jeopardy 289 

even if he fell down. The hull thing is this : Make a 
guy wanta get well an' he'll get well. If he's got any 
pride, dig it up. Go after 'em. He hasn't lost any 
blood. No serious body wound. A crack on the 
conk. It mighta killed him. It didn't. He didn't 
wabble an' fall down. So my dope is right. Drop 
in in a few days an' I'll show yuh." 

Miss Frances held out her hand. "You've han- 
dled men," she said, with reluctant admiration. 

"Oh, boy! millions of 'em, an' each guy differ- 
ent. Believe me! Make 'em wanta." 

Cutty attended his conferences. He learned im- 
mediately that he was booked to sail the first week 
in May. His itinerary began at Piraeus, in Greece, 
and might end in Vladivostok. But they detained 
him in Washington overtime because he was a fount 
of information the departments found it necessary 
to draw upon constantly. The political and com- 
mercial aspects of the polyglot peoples, what they 
wanted, what they expected, what they needed; 
racial enmities. The bugaboo of the undesirable 
alien was no longer bothering official heads in Wash- 
ington. Stringent immigration laws were in the 
making. What they wanted to know was an Amer- 
ican's point of view, based upon long and intimate 
associations. 

Washington reminded him of nothing so much as a 
big sheep dog. The hazardous day was over; the 
wolves had been driven off and the sheep into the 



290 The Drums of Jeopardy 

fold; and now the valiant guardian was turning 
round and round and round preparatory to lying 
down to sleep. For Washington would go to sleep 
again, naturally. 

Often it occurred to him what a remarkable piece 
of machinery the human brain was. He could dig 
up all this dry information with the precise accuracy 
of an economist, all the while his actual thoughts 
upon Kitty. His nights were nightmares. And 
all this unhappiness because he had been touched 
with the lust for loot. Fundamentally, this catas- 
trophe could be laid to the drums of jeopardy. 

The alluring possibility of finding those damnable 
green stones the unsuspected kink in his moral 
rectitude had tumbled him into this pit. Had not 
Kitty pronounced the name Stefani Gregor in his 
mind always linked with the emeralds he would 
have summoned an ambulance and had Hawksley 
carried off, despite Kitty's protests; and perhaps 
he would have seen her but two or three times before 
sailing, seen her in conventional and unemotional 
parts. At any rate, there would have been none of 
this peculiar intimacy Kitty coming to him in 
tears, opening her young heart to him and discover- 
ing all its loneliness. If she loved some chap it 
would not be so hard, the temptation would not be 
so keen to cheat her. Marry her, and then tell 
her. This dogged his thoughts like a murderer's 
deed, terrible in the watches of the night. Marry 



The Drums of Jeopardy 291 

her, and then tell her. Cheat her. Break her heart 
and break his own. 

Fifty-two. Never before had he thought old. 
His splendid health and vigorous mentality were the 
results of thinking young. But now he heard the 
avalanche stirring, the whispering slither of the 
first pebbles. He would grow old swiftly, thunder- 
ously. Kitty's youth would shore up the debacle, 
suspend it indefinitely. Marry her, cheat her, and 
stay young. Green stones, accursed. 

Kitty's days were pleasant enough, but her nights 
were sieges. One evening someone put Elman's 
rendition of Schubert's "Ave Maria" on the phono- 
graph. Long after it was over she sat motionless 
in her chair. Echoes. The Tschaikowsky waltz. 
She got up suddenly, excused herself, and went to her 
room. 

Six days, and her problem was still unsolved. 
Something in her she could not define it, she could 
not reach it, it defied analysis something, then, 
revolted at the idea of marrying Cutty, divorcing 
him, and living on his money. There was a touch 
of horror in the suggestion. It was tearing her to 
pieces, this hidden repellence. And yet this occult 
objection was so utterly absurd. If he died and left 
her a legacy she would accept it gratefully enough. 
Cutty's plan was only a method of circumventing 
this indefinite wait. 

Comforts, the good things of life, amusements 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

simply by nodding her head. Why not? It wasn't 
as if Cutty was asking her to be his wife; he wasn't. 
Just wanted to dodge convention, and give her free- 
dom and happiness. He was only giving her a mite 
out of his income. Because he had loved her mother; 
because, but for an accident of chance, she, Kitty, 
might have been his daughter. Why, then, this 
persistent and unaccountable revulsion? Why should 
she hesitate? The ancient female fear of the trap? 
That could not be it. For a more honourable, a 
more lovable man did not walk the earth. Brave, 
strong, handsome, whimsical why, Cutty was a 
catch! 

Comfy. Never any of that inherent doubt of man 
when she was with him. Absolute trust. An evil 
thought had entered her head; fate had made it 
honourably possible. And still this mysterious re- 
pellence. 

Romance? She was not surrendering her right 
to that. What was a year out of her life if afterward 
she would be in comfortable circumstances, free to 
love where she willed? She wasn't cheating herself 
or Cutty: she was cheating convention, a flimsy 
thing at best. 

Windows. We carry our troubles to our windows; 
through windows we see the stars. We cannot 
visualize God, but we can see His stars pinned to the 
immeasurable spaces. So Kitty sought her window 
and added her question to the countless millions 



The Drums of Jaoperdy 293 

forlornly wandering about up there, and finding no 
answer. 

But she would return to New York on the morrow. 
She would not summon Bernini as she had promised. 
She would go back by train, alone, unhampered. 

And in his cellar Boris Karlov spun his web for her. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

HAWKSLEY heard the lift door close, and he 
knew that at last he was alone. He flung 
out his arms, ecstatically. Free! He would 
see no more of that nagging beggar Ryan until to- 
morrow. Free to put into execution the idea that 
had been bubbling all day long in his head, like a fine 
champagne, firing his blood with reckless whimsicality. 

Quietly he stole down the corridor. Through 
a crack in the kitchen door he saw Kuroki's back, the 
attitude of which was satisfying. It signified that 
the Jap was pegging away at his endless studies and 
that only the banging of the gong would rouse him. 
The way was as broad and clear as a street at dawn. 
Not that Kuroki mattered; only so long as he did 
not know, so much the better. 

With careful step Hawksley manoeuvred his re- 
treat so that it brought him to Cutty's bedroom door. 
The door was unlocked. He entered the room. 
What a lark! They would hide his own clothes; so 
much the worse for the old beggar's wardrobe. Street 
clothes. Presently he found a dark suit, commend- 
able not so much for its style as for the fact that it 
was the nearest fit he could find. He had to roll up 
the trouser hems. 

204 



The Drums of Jeopardy 295 

Hats. Chuckling like a boy rummaging a jam 
closet, he rifled the shelves and pulled down a black 
derby of an unknown vintage. Large; but a runner 
of folded paper reduced the size. As he pressed the 
relic firmly down on his head he winced. A stab 
over his eyes. He waited doubtfully; but there was 
no recurrence. Fit as a fiddle. Of course he could 
not stoop without a flash of vertigo; but on his feet 
he was top-hole. He was gaining every day. 

Luck. He might have come out of it with the 
blank mind of a newborn babe; and here he was, keen 
to resume his adventures. Luck. They had not 
stopped to see if he was actually dead. Some 
passer-by in the hall had probably alarmed them. 
That handkerchief had carried him round the brink. 
Perhaps Fate intended letting him get through- 
written on his pass an extension of his leave of ab- 
sence. Or she had some new torture in reserve. 

Now for a stout walking stick. He selected a 
blackthorn, twirled it, saluted, and posed before the 
mirror. Not so bally rotten. He would pass. Next, 
he remembered that there were some flowers in the 
dining room window boxes with scarlet geraniums. 
He broke off a sprig and drew it through his button- 
hole. 

Outside there was a cold, pale April sky, presaging 
wind and rain. Unimportant. He was going down 
into the streets for an hour or so. The colour and 
action of a crowded street; the lure was irresistible. 



296 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Who would dare touch him in the crowd? These 
rooms had suddenly become intolerable. 

He leaned against the side of the window. Roofs, 
thousands of them, flat, domed, pinnacled; and 
somewhere under one of these roofs Stefani Gregor 
was eating his heart out. It did not matter that this 
queer old eagle whom everybody called Cutty had 
promised to bring Stefani home. It might be too 
late. Stefani was old, highly strung. Who knew 
what infernal lies Karlov had told him? Stefani 
could stand up under physical torture; but to tear 
at his soul, to twist and rend his spirit! 

The bubble in the champagne died down as it 
always will if one permits it to stand. He felt the 
old mood seep through the dikes of his gayety. 
Alone. A familiar face he would have dropped on 
his knees and thanked God for the sight of a familiar 
face. These people, kindly as they were what 
were they but strangers? Yesterday he had not 
known them; to-morrow he would leave them be- 
hind forever. All at once the mystery of this bub- 
bling idea was bared: he was going to risk his life in 
the streets in the vague hope of seeing some face he 
had known in the days before the world had gone 
drunk on blood. One familiar face. 

Of course he would never forget at any rate, not 
the girl whose courage had made possible this hour. 
Those chaps, scared off temporarily, might have 
returned. What had become of her? He was al" 



The Drums of Jeopardy 297 

ways seeing her lovely face in the shadows, now 
tender, now resolute, now mocking. Doubtless he 
thought of her constantly because his freedom of 
action was limited. He hadn't diversion enough. 
Books and fiddling, these carried him but halfway 
through the boredom. Where was she? Daily he 
had called her by telephone; no answer. The Jap 
shook his head; the slangy boy in the hit shook his. 

She was a thoroughbred, even if she had been born 
of middle -class parentage. He laughed bitterly. 
Middle class. A homeless, countryless derelict, and 
he had the impudence to revert to comparisons that 
no longer existed in this topsy-turvy old world. He 
was an upstart. The final curtain had dropped 
between him and his world, and he was still thinking 
in the ancient make-up. Middle class! He was 
no better than a troglodyte, set down in a new 
wilderness. 

He heard the curtain rings slither on the pole. Be- 
lieving the intruder to be Kuroki he turned bel- 
ligerently. And there she stood the girl herself! 
The poise of her reminded him of the Winged Victory 
in the Louvre. Where there had been a cup of 
champagne in his veins circumstance now poured a 
magnum. 

"You!" he cried. 

"What has happened? Where are you going in 
those clothes?" demanded Kitty. 

"I am running away for an hour or so." 



298 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"But you must not! The risks after all the 
trouble we've had to help you!" 

"I shall be perfectly safe, for you are going with 
me. Aren't you my guardian angel? Well, rather! 
The two of us people, lights, shop windows! Pea, 
fectly splendiferous! Honestly, now, where's the 
harm?" He approached her rapidly as he spoke, 
and before the spell of him could be shaken off Kitty 
found her hands imprisoned in his. "Please! I've 
been so damnably bored. The two of us in the 
streets, among the crowds! No one will dare touch 
us. Can't you see? And then I say, this is rip- 
ping! we'll have dinner together here. I will play 
for you on the old Amati. Please!" 

The fire of him communicated to the combustibles 
in Kitty's soul. A wild, reckless irony besieged her. 
This adventure would be exactly what she needed; 
it would sweep clear the fog separating one side of her 
brain from the other. For it was plain enough that 
part of her brain refused to cooperate with the other. 
A break in the trend of thought: she might succeed 
in getting hold of the puzzle if she could drop it 
absolutely for a little while and then pick it up again. 

She had not gone home. She had not notified 
Bernini. She had checked her luggage in the station 
parcel room and come directly here. For what? To 
let the sense of luxury overcome the hidden repug- 
nance of the idea of marrying Cutty, divorcing him, 
and living on his money. To put herself in the way 



Tlie Drums of Jeopardy 299 

of visible temptation. What fretted her so, what was 
wearing her down to the point of fatigue, was the 
patent imbecility of her reluctance. There would 
have been some sense of it if Cutty had proposed a 
real marriage. All she had to do was mumble a few 
words, sign her name to a document, live out West 
for a few months, and be in comfortable circumstances 
all the rest of her life. And she doddered! 

She would run the streets with Johnny Two- 
Hawks, return, and dine with him. Who cared? 
Proper or improper, whose business was it but Kitty 
Conover's? Danger? That was the peculiar at- 
traction. She wanted to rush into danger, some 
tense excitement the strain of which would lift her 
out of her mood. A recurrent touch of the wild 
impulsiveness of her childhood. Hadn't she some- 
times flown out into thunderstorms, after merited 
punishment, to punish the mother whom thunder 
terrorized? And now she was going to rush into un- 
known danger to punish Fate like a silly child! 
Nevertheless, she would go into the streets with 
Johnny Two-Hawks. 

"But are you strong enough to venture on the 
streets?" 

"Rot! Dash it all, I'm no mollycoddle! All 
nonsense to keep me pinned in like this. Will you 
go with me be my guide?" 

"Yes!" She shot out the word and crossed the 
Rubicon before reason could begin to lecture. Be- 



300 The Drums of Jeopardy 

sides, wasn't reason treating her shabbily hi with- 
holding the key to the riddle? " Johnny Two-Hawks, 
I will go as far as Harlem if you want me to." 

"Johnny Two-Hawks!" He laughed joyously, 
then kissed her hands. But he had to pay for this 
bending a stab that filled his eyes with flying 
sparks. He must remember, once out of doors, not 
to stoop quickly. "I say, you're the jolliest girl I 
ever met! Just the two of us, what?" 

"The way you speak English is wonderful!" 

" Simple enough to explain. Had an English nurse 
from the beginning. Spoke English and Italian 
before I spoke Russian." 

He seized the wooden mallet and beat the Burmese 
gong a flat piece of brass cut in the shape of a bell. 
The clear, whirring vibrations filled the room. Long 
before these spent themselves Kuroki appeared on 
the threshold. He bobbed. 

"Kuroki, Miss Conover is dining here with me 
to-night. Seven o'clock sharp. The best you have 
in the larder." 

"Yes, sair. You are going out, sair?" 

"For a bit of fresh air." 

"And I am going with him, Kuroki," said Kitty. 

Kuroki bobbed again. "Dinner at seven, sair." 
Another bob, and he returned to the kitchen, smiling. 
The girl was free to come and go, of couuse, but the 
ancient enemy of Nippon would not pass the elevator 
door. Let him find that out for himself. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 301 

When the elevator arrived the boy did not open 
the door. He noted the derby on Hawksley's head. 

"I can take you down, Miss Conover, but I can- 
not take Mr. Hawksley. When the boss gives me 
an order I obey it if I possibly can. On the day 
the boss tells me you can go strolling, I'll give you the 
key to the city. Until then, nix! No use arguing, 
Mr. Hawksley." 

"I shan't argue," replied Hawksley, meekly. "I 
am really a prisoner, then?" 

"For your own good, sir. Do you wish to go 
down, Miss Conover?" 

"No." 

The boy swung the lever, and the car dropped from 
sight. 

"I'm sorry," said Kitty. 

Hawksley smiled and laid a finger on his lips. "I 
wanted to know," he whispered. "There's another 
way down from this Matterhorn. Come with me. 
Off the living room is a storeroom. I found the key 
in the lock the other day and investigated. I still 
have the key. Now, then, there's a door that gives 
to the main loft. At the other end is the stairhead. 
There is a door at the foot of the first flight down. 
We can jolly well leave this way, but we shall have 
to return by the lift. That bally young ruffian 
can't refuse to carry us up, y' know!' 

Kitty laughed. " This is going to be fun ! " 

"Rather!" 



302 The Drums of Jeopardy 

They groped their way through the dim loft for 
it was growing dark outside and made the stair- 
head. The door to the seventeenth floor opened, 
and they stepped forth into the lighted hallway. 

"Now what?" asked Kitty, bubbling. 

"The floor below, and one of the other lifts, what?" 

Twenty minutes later the two of them, arm in 
arm, turned into Broadway. 

"This, sir," began Kitty with a gesture, "is Broad- 
way America's backyard in the daytime and Ali 
Baba's cave at night. The way of the gilded youth; 
the funnel for papa's money; the chorus lady; the 
starting point of the high cost of living. We New 
Yorkers despise it because we can't afford it." 

"The lights!" gasped Hawksley. 

"Wreckers' lights. Behold! Yonder is a highly 
nutritious whisky blinking its bloomin' farewell. 
Do you chew gum? Even if you don't, in a few 
minutes I'll give you a cud for thought. Chewing 
gum was invented by a man with a talkative wife. 
He missed the physiological point, however, that a 
body can chew and talk at the same time. Come 
on!" 

They went on uptown, Hawksley highly amused, 
exhilarated, but frequently puzzled. The pungent 
irony of her observations conveyed to him that 
under this gayety was a current of extreme bitterness. 

"I say, are all American girls like you?" 

"Heavens, no) Why?" 



The Drums of Jeopardy 303 

" Because I never met one like you before. Rather 
stilted on their good behaviour, I fancy." 

"And I interest you because I'm not on my good 
behaviour?" Kitty whipped back. 

"Because you are as God made you without 
camouflage." 

"The poor innocent young man ! I'm nothing but 
camouflage to-night. Why are you risking your 
life in the street? Why am I sharing that risk? 
Because we both feel bound and are blindly trying 
to break through. What do you know about me? 
Nothing. What do I know about you? Nothing. 
But what do we care? Come on, come on!" 

Tumpitum tump! tumpitum tump! drummed 
the Elevated. Kitty laughed. The tocsin! Al- 
ways something happened when she heard it. 

"Pearls!" she cried, dragging him toward a 
jeweller's window. 

"No!" he said, holding back. "I hate jewels! 
How I hate them!" He broke away from her and 
hurried on. 

She had to run after him. Had she hesitated they 
might have become separated. Hated jewels? No, 
no ! There should be no questions, verbal or mental, 
this night. She presently forced him to slow down. 

" Not so fast ! We must never become separated," 
she warned. "Our safety such as it is lies in 
being together." 

"I'm an ass. Perhaps my head is ratty without 



304 The Drums of Jeopardy 

my realizing it. I fancy I'm like a dog that's been 
kicked; I'm trying to run away from the pain. 
What's this tomb?" 

" The Metropolitan Opera House." 

As they were passing a thin, wailing sound came 
to the ears of both. Seated with his back to the wall 
was a blind fiddler with a tin cup strapped to a knee. 
He was out of bounds; he had no right on Broadway; 
but he possessed a singular advantage over the law. 
He could not be forced to move on without his 
guide if he were honestly blind. Hundreds of 
people were passing; but the fiddler's "Last Rose 
of Summer" wasn't worth a cent. His cup was 
empty. 

"The poor thing!" said Kitty. 

"Wait!" Hawksley approached the fiddler, ex- 
changed a few words with him, and the blind man 
surrendered his fiddle. 

"Give me your hat!" cried Kitty, delighted. 

Carefully Hawksley pried loose his derby and 
handed it to Kitty. No stab of pain; something to 
find that out. He turned the instrument, tucked it 
under his chin and began "Traumerei." Kitty, smil- 
ing, extended the hat. Just the sort of interlude to 
make the adventure memorable. She knew this 
thoroughfare. Shortly there would be a crowd, and 
the fiddler's cup would overflow that is, if the 
police did not interfere too soon. 

As for the owner of the wretched fiddle, he raised 



The Drums of Jeopardy 305 

his head, his mouth opened. Up there, somewhere, a 
door to heaven had opened. 

True to her expectations a crowd slowly gathered. 
The beauty of the girl and the dark, handsome face 
of the musician, his picturesque bare head, were 
sufficient for these cynical passers-by. They under- 
stood. Operatic celebrities, having a little fun on 
their own. So quarters and dimes and nickels began 
to patter into Cutty's ancient derby hat. Broadway 
will always contribute generously toward a novelty of 
this order. Famous names were tossed about in 
undertones. 

Entered then the enemy of the proletariat. Kitty, 
being a New Yorker born, had had her weather eye 
roving. The brass-buttoned minion of the law was 
always around when a bit of innocent fun was going 
on. As the policeman reached the inner rim of the 
audience the last notes of Handel's "Largo" were 
fading on the ear. 

"What's this?" demanded the policeman. 

"It's all over, sir," answered Kitty, smiling. 

"Can't have this on Broadway, miss. Obstruc- 
tion." He could not speak gruffly in the face of such 
beauty especially with a Broadway crowd at his 
back. 

"It's all over. Just let me put this money in the 
blind man's cup." Kitty poured her coins into the 
receptacle. At the same time Hawksley laid the 
fiddle in the blind man's lap. Then he turned to 



306 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Kitty and boomed a long Russian phrase at her. Her 
quick wit caught the intent. "You see, he doesn't 
understand that this cannot be done in New York. 
I couldn't explain." 

"All right, miss; but don't do it again." The 
policeman grinned. 

"And please don't be harsh with the blind man. 
Just tell him he mustn't play on Broadway again. 
Thank you!' 

She linked her arm in Hawksley's, and they went 
on; and the crowd dissolved; only the policeman 
and the blind man remained, the one contemplating 
his duty and the other his vision of heaven. 

"What a lark!" exclaimed Hawksley. 

"Were you asking me for your hat?" 

"I was telling the bobby to go to the devil!" 

They laughed like children. 

"March hares!" he said. 

"No. April fools! Good heavens, the time! 
Twenty minutes to seven. Our dinner!" 

"We'll take a taxi. . . . Dash it!" 

"What's wrong?" 

"Not a bally copper in my pockets!" 

"And I left my handbag on the sideboard! We'll 
have to walk. If we hurry we can just about make 
it." 

"But, I say, hasn't this been a jolly lark?" 

"If we had known we could have borrowed a dollar 
from the blind man; he'd never have missed it." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 307 

Meantime, there lay in wait for them this pair of 
April fools a taxicab. It stood snugly against the 
curb opposite the entrance to Cutty's apartment. 
The door was slightly ajar. 

- The driver watched the south corner; the three 
men inside never took then* gaze off the north corner. 



CHAPTER XXVn 

CHAMPAGNE in the glass is a beautiful thing 
to see. So is water, the morning after. That 
is the fault with frolic; there is always an 
inescapable rebound. The most violent love drops 
into humdrum tolerance. A pessimist is only a poor 
devil who has anticipated the inevitable; he has his 
headache at the start. Mental champagnes have 
then* aftermaths even as the juice of the grape. 

Hawksley and Batty, hurrying back, began to taste 
lees. They began to see things, too menace in 
every loiterer, threat in every alley. They had had a 
glorious lark; somewhere beyond would be the piper 
with an appalling bill. They exaggerated the dan- 
gers, multiplied them; perhaps wisely. There would 
be no let-down in their vigilance until they reached 
haven. But this state of mind they covered with 
smiling masks, banter, bursts of laughter, and flashes 
of wit. 

They were both genuinely frightened, but with 
unselfish fear. Kitty's fear was not for herself but 
for Johnny Two-Hawks. If anything happened the 
blame would rightly be hers. With that head he 
wasn't strictly accountable for what he did; she was. 
A firm negative on her part, and he would never have 

308 



The Drums of Jeopardy 309 

left the apartment. And his fear was wholly for this 
astonishing girl. He had recklessly thrust her into 
grave danger. Who knew, better than he, the 
implacable hate of the men who sought to kill 
him? 

Moreover, his strength was leaving him. There 
was an alarming weakness in his legs, purely physical. 
He had overdone, and if need rose he would not be 
able to protect her. Damnable fool! But she had 
known. That was the odd phase of it. She hadn't 
come blindly. What mood had urged her to share 
the danger along with the lark? Somehow, she was 
always just beyond his reach, this girl. He would 
never forget that fan popping out of the pistol, the 
egg burning in the pan. 

The apartment was only three blocks away when 
Kitty decided to drop her mask. "I'd give a good 
deal to see a policeman. They are never around 
when you really want them. Johnny Two-Hawks, 
I'm a little fool ! You wouldn't have left the apart- 
ment but for me. Will you forgive me?" 

"It is I who should ask forgiveness. I say, how 
nuch farther is it?" 

"Only about two blocks; but they may be long 
ones. Let's step into this doorway for a moment. 
I see a taxicab. It looks to be standing opposite the 
building. Don't like it. Suppose we watch it for 
a few minutes?" 

Hawksley was grateful for the respite; and together 



310 The Drums of Jeopardy 

they stared at the unwinking red eye of the tail light. 
But no man approached the cab or left it. 

"I believe I've hit upon a plan," said Kitty. 
"Certainly we have not been followed. In that 
event they would have had a dozen chances. If 
someone saw us leave together, naturally they will 
expect us to return together. We'll walk to the 
corner of our block, then turn east; but I shall re- 
main just out of sight while you will go round the 
block. Fifteen minutes should carry you to the 
south corner. I'll be on watch for you. The mo- 
ment you turn I'll walk toward you. It will give us 
a bit of a handicap in case that taxi is a menace. If 
any one appears, run for it. Where's the cane you 
had?" 

"What a jolly ass I am! I remember now. I 
left the stick against the wall of the opera house. 
Blockhead ! With a stick, now ! . . . I'm hope- 
less!" 

"Never mind. Let's start. That taxi may be 
perfectly honest. It's our guilty consciences that 
are peopling the shadows with goblins. What really 
bothers us is that we have broken our word to the 
kindliest man in all this world." 

Hawksley wondered if he could walk round the 
block without falling down. He saw that he was 
facing a physical collapse, hastened by the knowl- 
edge that the safety of the girl depended largely 
upon himself. What he had accepted at the be- 



The Drums of Jeopardy 311 

ginning as strength had been nothing more than 
exhilaration and nerve energy. There was now 
nothing but the latter, and only feeble straws at that. 
Oh, he would manage somehow; he jolly well had to; 
and there was a bare chance of falling in with a 
bobby. But run? Honestly, now, how the devil 
was a chap to run on a pair of spools? 

Arriving at the appointed spot they separated. 
He waved his hand airily and marched off. If he 
fell it would be out of sight, where the girl could not 
see him. Clever chap what? Damned rotter: 
For himself he did not care. He was weary of this 
game of hide and seek. But to have lured the girl 
into it! When he turned the first corner of his 
journey he paused and leaned against the wall, his 
eyes shut. When he opened them the sidewalk and 
the street lamps were normal again. 

As soon as he disappeared a new plan came to 
Kitty. She put it into execution at once, on the 
basis that yonder taxicab was an enemy machine. 
She left her retreat and walked boldly down the 
street, her eyes alert for the least suspicious sign. If 
she could make the entrance before they suspected 
the trick, she could obtain help before Johnny Two- 
Hawks made the south turn. She reached her ob- 
jective, pushed through the revolving doors, and 
turned. Dimly she could see the taxi driver; but 
he appeared to be dozing on the seat. 

As a matter of fact, one of the three men in the 



312 The Drums of Jeopardy 

taxi recognized Kitty, but too late to intercept her. 
Her manoeuvre had confused him temporarily. And 
while he and his companions were debating, Kitty had 
time to summon Cutty's man from Elevator Four. 

"Step into the car!" he roughly ordered, after she 
had given him a gist of her suspicions. He turned 
off the lights, stepped out, and shut the gates with a 
furious bang. "And stick to the corner! I'll at- 
tend to the othei fool." 

He rushed into the street, his automatic ready, 
eyed the taxicab speculatively, wheeled suddenly, 
and ran south at a dog-trot. He rounded the south 
corner, but he did not see Hawksley anywhere. The 
dog-trot became a dead run. As he wheeled round 
the corner of the parallel street he almost bumped 
into Hawksley, who had a policeman in tow. 

"Officer," said the man with the boy's face, "this 
is Federal business. Aliens. Come along. There may 
be trouble. If there should be any shooting don't 
bother with the atmosphere. Pick out a real target." 

"Anarchists?" 

"About the size of it." 

"Miss Conover?" asked Hawksley. 

"Safe. No thanks to you, though. I'd like to 
knock your block off, if you want to know! " 

"Do it! Damned little use to me," declared 
Hawksley, sagging. 

"Here, what's the matter with you?" cried the 
policeman, throwing his arm round Hawksley. 



The Drums of Jeopardy X 1 ;j 

" They nearly killed him a few days gone. A crack 
on the bean; but he wasn't satisfied. Help him 
along. I'll be hiking back." 

But the taxicab was gone. 

Before Cutty's lieutenant opened the gate to the 
apartment he spoke to Hawksley. "The boss is 
doing everything he can to put you through, sir. 
Miss Conover's wit saved you. For if you hadn't 
separated they'd have nailed you. I've been run- 
ning round like a chicken with its head cut off. I 
forgot that door on the seventeenth floor. I tell you 
honestly, you've been playing with death. It wasn't 
fair to Miss Conover." 

"It was my fault," volunteered Kitty. 

"Mine," protested Hawksley. 

"Well, they know where you roost now, for a fact. 
You've spilled the beans. I'm sorry I lost my 
temper. The devil fly away with you both!" The 
boy laughed. "You're game, anyhow. But darn 
it all, if anything had happened to you the boss would 
never have forgiven me. He's the whitest old scout 
God ever put the breath of life into. He's always 
doing something for somebody. He'd give you the 
block if you had the gall to ask for it. Play the 
game fifty-fifty with him and you'll land on both feet. 
And you, Miss Conover, must not come here again." 

"I promise." 

"I'll tell you a little secret. It was the bos* who 



314 The Drums of Jeopardy 

sent you out of town. He was afraid you'd do some- 
thing like this. When you are ready to go home 
you'll find Tony Bernini downstairs. Sore as a crab, 
too, I'll bet." 

"I'll be glad to go home with him," said Kitty, 
thoroughly chastened in spirit. 

"That's all for to-night." 

Kitty and Hawksley stepped out into the corridor, 
the problem they had sought to shake off reestab- 
lished in their thoughts, added too, if anything. 

"How do you feel?" 

"Top-hole," lied Hawksley. "My word, though, 
I wobbled a bit going round that block. I almost 
kissed the bobby. I say, he thought I'd been tilting 
a few. But it was a lark!" 

"Dinner is served," announced Kuroki at their 
elbows. His expression was coldly bland. 

"Dinner!" cried Hawksley, brightening. "What 
does the American soldier say?" 

"Eats!" answered Kitty. 

All tension vanished in the double laughter that 
followed. They approached dinner with something 
of the spirit that had induced Hawksley to fiddle and 
Kitty to pass the hat in front of the Metropolitan 
Opera House. Hawksley's recuperative powers prom- 
ised well for his future. By the time coffee was 
served his head had cleared and his legs had resumed 
their normal functions of support. 

"I was so infernally bored 1" 



The Drums of Jeopardy 315 

"And now?" asked Kitty, recklessly. 
"Fancy asking me that!" 

"Do you realize that all this is dreadfully im- 
proper?" 

"Oh, I say, now! Where's the harm? If ever 
there was a young woman capable of taking care of 
herself " 

" That isn't it. It's just being here alone with you." 

"But you are not alone with me!" 

"Kuroki?" Kitty shrugged. 

" No. At my side of the table is Stefani Gregor; at 
yours the man who has befriended me." 

"Thank you for that. I don't know of anything 
nicer you could say. But the outside world would 
see neither of our friends. I did not come here to see 
you." 

"No need of telling me that." 

"I had a problem a very difficult one to solve; 
and I believed that I might solve it if I came to these 
rooms. I had quite forgotten you." 

Instantly, upon receiving this blunt explanation, 
he determined that she should never cease to re- 
member him after this night. His vanity was not 
touched; it was something far more elusive. It was 
perhaps a recurrence of that inexplicable desire to 
hurt. Somehow he sensed the flexible steel behind 
which lay the soul of this baffling girl. He would 
presently find a chink in the armour with that old 
Amati. 



316 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Blows on the head have few surgical comparisons. 
That which kills one man only temporarily stuns 
another. One man loses his identity; another es- 
capes with all his faculties and suffers but trifling in- 
convenience. In Hawksley's case the blow had 
probably restricted some current of thought, and that 
which would have flowed normally now shot out 
obliquely, perversely. It might be that the nat- 
ural perverseness of his blood, unchecked by the 
noble influence of Stefani Gregor and liberated by 
the blow, governed his thoughts in relation to Kitty. 
The subjugation of women, the old cynical warfare 
of sex the dominant business of his rich and idle 
forbears, the business that had made Boris Karlov a 
deadly and implacable enemy became paramount 
in his disordered brain. 

She had forgotten him ! Very well. He would stir 
the soul of her, play with it, lift it to the stars and 
dash it down if she had a soul. Beautiful, natural, 
alone. He became all Latin under the pressure of 
this idea. 

"I will play for you," he said, quietly. 

"Please! And then I'll go home where I belong. 
I'll be in the living room." 

When he returned he found her before a window, 
staring at the myriad lights. 

"Sit here," he said, indicating the divan. "I 
shall stand and walk about as I play." 

Kitty sat down, touching the pillows, reflectively. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 317 

She thought of the tears she had wept upon them. 
That sinister and cynical thought! Suddenly she 
saw light. Her problem would have been none at 
all if Cutty had said he loved her. There would have 
been something sublime in making him happy in his 
twilight. He had loved and lost her mother. To 
pay him for that ! He was right. Those twenty-odd 
years his seniority had mellowed him, filled him 
with deep and tender understanding. To be with 
him was restful; the very thought of him now was 
resting. No matter how much she might love a 
younger man he would frequently torture her by 
unconscious egoism; and by the time he had mel- 
lowed, the mulled wine would be cold. If only Cutty 
had said he loved her! 

"What shall I play?" 

Kitty raised her eyes in frank astonishment. 
Tnere was a fiercely proud expression on Hawksley's 
face. It was not the man, it was the artist who was 
angry. 

"Forgive me! I was dreaming a little," she 
apologized with quick understanding. "I am not 
quite myself." 

"Neither am I. I will play something to fit your 
dream. But wait ! When I play I am articulate, 
can express myself all emotions. I am what I 
play happy, sad, gay, full of the devil. I warn 
you. I can speak aU things. I can laugh at you, 
weep with you, despise you, love you! All in the 



318 The Drums of Jeopardy 

touch of these strings. I warn you there is magic in 
this Amati. Will you risk it?" 

Ordinarily had this florid outburst come from 
another man Kitty would have laughed. It had 
the air of piqued vanity; but she knew that this was 
not the interpretation. On the streets he had been 
the most amusing and surprising comrade she had 
ever known, as merry and whimsical as Cutty- 
young and handsome the real man. He had been 
real that night when he entered through her kitchen 
window, with the drums of jeopardy about his neck. 
He had been real that night she had brought him his 
wallet. 

Electric antagonism the room seemed charged 
with it. The man had stepped aside for a moment 
and the great noble had taken his place. It was not 
because she had been reared in rather a theatrical 
atmosphere that she transcribed his attitude thus. 
She knew that he was noble. That she did not know 
his rank was of no consequence. Cutty's narrative, 
which she had pretended to believe, had set this man 
in the middle class. Never in this world. There 
was only one middle class out of which such a 
personality might, and often did, emerge the 
American middle class. In Europe, never. No 
peasant blood, no middle-class corpuscle, stirred in 
this man's veins. The ancient boyar looked down at 
her. 

"Play!" said Kitty. There was a smile on her 



The Drums of Jeopardy 319 

lips, but there was fiery challenge in her slate-blue 
eyes. The blood of Irish kings and what Irish- 
man dares deny it? surged into her throat. 

We wear masks, we inherit generations of masks; 
and a trivial incident reveals the primordial which 
lurks in each one of us. Savages Kitty with her 
stone hatchet and Hawksley swinging the curved 
blade of Rurik. 

He began one of those tempestuous compositions, 
brilliant and bewildering, that submerge the most 
appreciative lay mentality because he was angry, a 
double anger that he should be angry over he knew 
not what and broke off in the middle of the composi- 
tion because Kitty sat upright, stonily unimpressed. 

Tschaikowsky's " Serenade Melancolique." Kitty, 
after a few measures, laid aside her stone hatchet, and 
her body relaxed. Music! She began to absorb it 
as parched earth absorbs the tardy rain. Then 
came the waltz which had haunted her. Her face 
grew tenderly beautiful; and Hawksley, a true artist, 
saw that he had discovered the fifth string; and he 
played upon it with all the artistry which was 
naturally his and which had been given form by the 
master who had taught him. 

For the physical exertions he relied upon nerve 
energy again. Nature is generous when we are 
young. No matter how much we draw against the 
account she always has a little more for us. He 
forgot that only an hour gone he had been dizzy with 



320 The Drums of Jeopardy 

pain, forgot everything but the glory of the sounds he 
was evoking and their visible reaction upon this girl. 
The devil was not only in his heart, but in his hand. 

Never had Kitty heard such music. To be played 
to in this manner directly, with embracing tender- 
ness, with undivided fire would have melted the 
soul of Gobseck the money lender; and Kitty was 
warm-blooded, Irish, emotional. The fiddle called 
poignantly to the Irish in her. She wanted to go 
roving with this man; with her hand on his shoulder 
to walk in the thin air of high places. Through it all, 
however, she felt vaguely troubled; the instinct of the 
trap. The sinister and cynical idea which had 
clandestinely taken up quarters in her mind awoke 
and assailed her from a new angle, that of youth. 
Something in her cried out: "Stop! Stop!" But 
her lips were mute, her body enchained. 

Suddenly Hawksley laid aside the fiddle and 
advanced. He reached down and drew her up. 
Kitty did not resist him; she was numb with enchant- 
ment. He held her close for a second, then kissed 
her her hair, eyes, mouth released her and stepped 
back, a bantering smile on his lips and cold terror in 
his heart. The devil who had inspired this phase of 
the drama now deserted his victim, as he generally 
does in the face of superior forces. 

Kitty stood perfectly still for a full minute, 
stunned. It was that smile frozen on his lips 
that brought her back to intimacy with cold realities. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 321 

Had he asked her pardon, had he shown the least 
repentance, she might have forgiven, forgotten. But 
knowing mankind as she did she could give but one 
interpretation to that smile of which he was no 
longer conscious. 

Without anger, in quiet, level tones she said: "I 
had foolishly thought that we two might be friends. 
You have made it impossible. You have also abused 
the kindly hospitality of the man who has protected 
you from your enemies. A few days ago he did me 
the honour to ask me to marry him. I am going to. 
I wish you no evil." She turned and walked from 
the room. 

Even then there was time. But he did not move. 
It was not until he heard the elevator gate crash that 
he was physically released from the thraldom of the 
inner revelation. Love in the blinding flash of a 
thunderbolt ! He had kissed her not because he was 
the son of his father, but because he loved her! And 
now he never could tell her. He must let her go, 
believing that the man she had saved from death had 
repaid her with insult. On top of all his misfortunes, 
his tragedies love! There was a God, yes, but his 
name was Irony. Love! He stepped toward the 
divan, stumbled, and fell against it, his arms spread 
over the pillows; and in this position he remained. 

For a while his thoughts were broken, inconclusive; 
he was like a man in the dark, groping for a door. 
Principally, his poor head was trying to solve the 



32? The Drums of Jeopardy 

riddle of his never-ending misfortunes. Why? What 
had he done that these calamities should be piled 
upon his head? He had lived decently; his youth 
had been normal; he had played fair with men and 
women. Why make him pay for what his forbears 
had done? He wasn't fair game. 

He! A singular revelation cleared one corner. 
Kitty had spoken of a problem; and he, by those 
devil-urged kisses, had solved it for her. She had 
been doddering, and his own act had thrust her into 
the arms of that old thoroughbred. That cynical 
suggestion of his the other morning had been acted 
upon. God had long ago deserted him, and now the 
devil himself had taken leave. Hawksley buried his 
face in the pillow once made wet with Kitty's tears. 

The great tragedy in life lies in being too late. 
Hawksley had learned this once before; it was now 
being driven home again. Cutty was to find it out 
on the morrow, for he missed his train that night. 

The shuttles of the Weaver in this pattern of life 
were two green stones called the drums of jeopardy, 
inanimate objects, but perfect tools in the hands of 
Destiny. But for these stones Hawksley would not 
have tarried too long on a certain red night; Cutty 
would not now be stumbling about the labyrinths into 
which his looting instincts had thrust him; and Kitty 
Conover would have jogged along in the humdrum 
rut, if not happy at least philosophically content with 
her lot. 



CHAPTER XXVHI 

DECISION is always a mental relief, hesitance 
a curse. Kitty, having shifted her burdens 
to the broad shoulders of Cutty, felt as she 
reached the lobby as if she had left storm and stress 
behind and entered calm. She would marry Cutty; 
she had published the fact, burned her bridges. 

She had stepped into the car, her heart full of cold 
fury. Now she began to find excuses for Hawksley's 
conduct. A sick brain; he was not really accountable 
for his acts. Her own folly had opened the way. Of 
course she would never see him again. Why should 
she? Their lives were as far apart as the Volga and 
the Hudson. 

Bernini met her in the lobby. "I've got a cab for 
you, Miss Conover," he said as if nothing at all had 
happened. 

"Have you Cutty's address?" 

"Yes." 

"Then take me at once to a telegraph office. I 
have a very important message to send him." 

"All right, Miss Conover." 

"Say: 'Decision made. It is yes.' And sign it 
just Kitty." 

Without being conscious of it her soul was still in 

323 



324 The Drums of Jeopardy 

the clouds, where it had been driven by the music of 
the fiddle; thus, what she assumed to be a normal 
sequence of a train of thought was only a sublime 
impulse. She would marry Cutty. More, she 
would be his wife, his true wife. For his tenderness, 
his generosity, his chivalry, she would pay him in 
kind. There would be no nonsense; love would not 
enter into the bargain; but there would be the fra- 
grance of perfect understanding. That he was 
fifty-two and she was twenty-four no longer mattered. 
No more loneliness, no more genteel poverty; for 
such benefits she was ready to pay the score in full. 
A man she was genuinely fond of, a man she could 
look up to, always depend upon. 

Was there such a thing as perfect love? She had 
her doubts. She reasoned that love was what a body 
decided was love, the psychological moment when the 
physical attraction became irresistible. Who could 
tell before the fact which was the true and which the 
false? Lived there a woman, herself excepted, who 
had not hesitated between two men a man who 
had not doddered between two women for better 
or for worse? What did the average woman know 
of the man, the average man know of the woman 
until afterward? To stake all upon a guess! 

She knew Cutty. Under her own eyes he had 
passed through certain proving fires. There would 
be no guessing the manner of man he was. He was 
fifty -two; that is to say, the grand passion had come 




11 Never had Kitty heard such music. Through it all, 
however, she felt vaguely troubled . . . 



The Drums of Jeopardy 325 

and gone. There would be mutual affection and 
comradeship. 

True, she had her dreams; but she could lay them 
away without any particular regret. She had never 
been touched by the fire of passion. Let it go. But 
she did know what perfect comradeship was, and 
she would grasp it and never loose her hold. Some- 
thing out of life. 

"A narrow squeak, Miss Conover," said Bernini, 
breaking the long silence. 

"A miss is as good as a mile," replied Kitty, not at 
all grateful for the interruption. 

"We've done everything we could to protect you. 
If you can't see now why, the jig is up. A chain is 
as strong as its weakest link. And in a game like 
this a woman is always the weakest link." 

"You're quite a philosopher." 

"I have reason to be. I'm married." 

"Am I expected to laugh?" 

"Miss Conover, you're a wonder. You come 
through these affairs with a smile, when you ought to 
have hysterics. I'll bet a doughnut that when you 
see a mouse you go and get it a piece of cheese." 

"Do you want the truth? Well, I'll tell it to you. 
You have all kept me on the outer edge of this affair, 
and I've been trying to find out why. I have the 
reportorial instinct, as they say. I inherited it from 
my father. You put a strange weapon in my hands, 
yon tell me it is deadly, but you don't tell me which. 



326 The Drums of Jeopardy 

end is deadly. Do you know who this Russian 
is?" 

"Honestly, I don't." 

"Does Cutty?" 

"I don't know that, either." 

"Did you ever hear of a pair of emeralds called the 
drums of jeopardy?" 

"Nope. But I do know if you continue these 
stunts you'll head the whole game into the ditch." 

"You may set your mind at ease. I'm going to 
marry Cutty. I shall not go to the apartment 
again until Hawksley, as he is called, is gone." 

" Well, well; that's good news ! But let me put you 
wise to one fact, Miss Conover: you have picked 
some man! I'm not much of a scholar, but knowing 
him as I do I'm always wondering why they made 
Faith, Hope, and Charity in female form. But this 
night's work was bad business. They know where 
the Russian is now; and if the game lasts long enough 
they'll reach the chief, find out who he is; and that'll 
put the kibosh on his usefulness here and abroad. 
Well, here's home, and no more lecture from me." 

"Sorry I've been so much trouble." 

"Perhaps we ought to have shown you which end 
shoots." 

"Good-night." 

If Kitty had any doubt as to the wisdom of her 
decision, the cold, gloomy rooms of her apartment 
dissipated them. She wandered through the rooms, 



The Drums of Jeopardy 327 

musing, calling back animated scenes. What would 
the spirit of her mother say? Had she doddered 
between Conover and Cutty? Perhaps. But she 
had been one of the happy few who had guessed 
right. Singular thought: her mother would have 
been happy with Cutty, too. 

Oh, the relief of knowing what the future was 
going to be! She took off her hat and tossed it upon 
the table. The good things of life, and a good 
comrade. 

Food. The larder would be empty and there was 
her breakfast to consider. She passed out into the 
kitchen, wrote out a list of necessities, and put it on 
the dumb waiter. Now for the dishes she had so 
hurriedly left. She rolled up her sleeves, put on the 
apron, and fell to the task. After such a night 
dish- washing ! She laughed. It was a funny old 
world. 

Pauses. Perhaps she should have gone to a hotel, 
away from all familiar objects. Those flatirons 
intermittently pulled her eyes round. Her fancy 
played tricks with her whenever her glance touched 
the window. Faces peering in. In a burst of 
impatience she dropped the dish towel, hurried to the 
window, and threw it up. Black emptiness! . . . 
Cutty, crossing the platform with Hawksley on his 
shoulders. She saw that, and it comforted her. 

She finished her work and started for bed. But 
first she entered the guest room and turned on the 



328 The Drums of Jeopardy 

lights. Olga. She had intended to ask him who 
Olga was. 

A great pity. They might have been friends. 
The back of her hand went to her lips but did not 
touch them. She could not rub away those burning 
kisses that is, not with the back of her hand. 
Vividly she saw him fiddling bareheaded in front of 
the Metropolitan Opera House. It seemed, though, 
that it had happened years ago. A great pity. The 
charm of that frolic would abide with her as long as 
she lived. A brave man, too. Hadn't he left her 
with a gay wave of the hand, not knowing, for want 
of strength, if he could make the detour of the block? 
That took courage. His journey halfway across the 
world had taken courage. Yet he could so basely 
disillusion her. It was not the kiss; it was the 
smile. She had seen that smile before, born of evil. 
If only he had spoken! 

The heavenly magic of that fiddle! It made her 
sad. Genius, the ability to play with souls, soothe, 
tantalize, lift up; and then to smile at her like that! 

She shut down the curtain upon these cogitations 
and summoned Cutty, visualized his handsome 
head, shot with gray, the humour of his smile. She 
did care for him; no doubt of that. She couldn't 
have sent that telegram else. Cutty name of a 
pipe, as the Frenchmen said ! All at once she rocked 
with laughter. She was going to marry a man whose 
given name she could not recall! Henry, George, 



The Drums of Jeopardy 329 

John, William? For the life of her she could not 
remember. 

And with this laughter still bubbling in a softer 
note she got into bed, twisted about from side to 
side, from this pillow to that, the tired body seeking 
perfect relaxation. 

A broken melody entered her head. Sleepily she 
sought one channel of thought after another to 
escape; still the melody persisted. As her conscious- 
ness dodged hither and thither the bars and measures 
joined. . . . She sat up, chilled, bewildered. 
That Tschaikowsky waltz! She could hear it as 
clearly as if Johnny Two-Hawks and the Amati were 
in the very room. She grew afraid. Of what? 
She did not know. 

And while she sat there in bed threshing out this 
fear to find the grain, Cutty was tramping the streets 
of Washington, her telegram crumpled in his hand. 
From time to time he would open it and reread it 
under a street lamp. 

To marry her and then to cheat her. It wasn't 
humanly possible to marry her and then to let her 
go. He thought of those warm, soft arms round his 
neck, the absolute trust of that embrace. Molly's 
girl. No, he could not do it. He would have to 
back down, tell her he could not put the bargain 
through, invent some other scheme. 

The idea had been repugnant to her. It had 
taken her a week to fight it out. It was a little 



330 The Drums of Jeopardy 

beyond his reach, however, why the idea should have 
been repugnant to her. It entailed nothing beyond 
a bit of mummery. The repugnance was not due to 
religious training. The Conover household, as he 
recalled it, had been rather lax in that respect. 
Why, then, should Kitty have hesitated? 

He thought of Hawksley, and swore. But for 
Hawksley's suggestion no muddle like this would 
have occurred. Devil take him and his infernal 
green stones! 

Cutty suddenly remembered his train. He looked 
at his watch and saw that his lower berth was well on 
the way to Baltimore. Always and eternally he was 
missing something. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

NOT unusually, when we burn our bridges, we 
have in the back of our minds the dim hope 
that there may be a shallow ford somewhere. 
Thus, bridges should not be burned impulsively; 
there may be no ford. 

The idea of retreat pushed forward in Kitty's 
mind the moment she awoke; but she pressed it back 
in shame. She had given her word, and she would 
stand by it. 

The night had been a series of wild impulses. She 
had not sent that telegram to Cutty as the result of 
her deliberations in the country. Impulse; a flash, 
and the thing was done, her bridges burned. To 
crush Johnny Two-Hawks, fill his cup with chagrin, 
she had told him she was going to marry Cutty. 
That was the milk in the cocoanut. Morning has a 
way of showing up night-gold for what it is tinsel. 
Kitty saw the stage of last night's drama dismantled. 
If there was a shallow ford, she would never lower her 
pride to seek it. She had told Two-Hawks, sent that 
wire to Cutty, broke the news to Bernini. 

But did she really want to go back? Not to know 
her own mind, to swing back and forth like a pendu- 
lum ! Was it because she feared that, having married 

331 



332 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Cutty, she might actually fall in love with some 
other man later? She could still go through the 
mummery as Cutty had planned; but what about all 
the sublime generosity of the preceding night? 

A queer feeling pervaded her: She was a 
marionette, a human manikin, and some invisible 
hand was pulling the wires that made her do all these 
absurd things. Her own mind no longer controlled 
her actions. The persistence of that waltz! It had 
haunted her, broken into her dreams, awakened her 
out of them. Why should she be afraid? What was 
there to be afraid of in a recurring melody? She had 
heard a dozen famed violinists play it. It had never 
before affected her beyond a flash of emotionalism. 
Perhaps it was the romantic misfortune of the man, 
the mystery surrounding him, the menace which 
walled him in. 

Breakfast. Human manikins had appetites. So 
she made her breakfast. Before leaving the kitchen 
she stopped at the window. The sun filled the court 
with brilliant light. The patches of rust on the 
fire-escape ladder, which was on the Gregor side of 
the platform, had the semblance of powdered 
gold. 

Half an hour later she was speeding downtown to 
the office. All through the day she walked, worked, 
talked as one in the state of trance. There were 
periods of stupefaction which at length roused Bur- 
lingame's curiosity. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 333 

"Kitty, what's the matter with you? You look 
dazed about something." 

"How do you clean a pipe?" she countered, ir- 
relevantly. 

"Clean a pipe?" he repeated, nearly overbalancing 
his chair. 

" Yes. You see, I may make up my mind to marry 
a man who smokes a pipe," said Kitty, desperately, 
eager to steer Burlingame into another channel; 
"and certainly I ought to know how to clean one." 

"Kitty, I'm an old-timer. You can't sidetrack 
me like this. Something has happened. You say 
you had a great time in the country, and you come 
in as pale as the moon, like someone suffering from 
shell shock. Ever since Cutty came in here that 
day you've been acting oddly. You may not know 
it, but Cutty asked me to send you out of town. 
You've been in some kind of danger. What's the 
yarn?" 

"So big that no newspaper will ever publish it, 
Burly. If Cutty wants to tell you some day he can. 
I haven't the right to." 

"Did he drag you into it or did you fall into it?" 

"I walked into it, as presently I shall walk out of 
it all on my own." 

"Better keep your eyes open. Cutty's a stormy 
petrel; when he flies there's rough weather." 

"What do you know about him?" 

"Probably what he has already told you that he 



334 The Drums of Jeopardy 

is a foreign agent of the Government. What do 
you know?" 

"Everything but one thing, and that's a problem 
particularly my own." 

"Alien stuff, I suppose. Cutty's strong on that. 
Well, mind your step. The boys are bringing in 
queer scraps about something big going to happen 
May Day no facts, just rumours. Better shoot for 
home the shortest route each night and stick round 
there." 

There are certain spiritual exhilarants that nullify 
caution, warning the presence of danger. The boy 
with his first pay envelope, the lover who has just 
been accepted, the debutante on the way to her first 
ball; the impetus that urges us to rush in where 
angels fear to tread. 

At a quarter after five Kitty left the office for home, 
unaware that the attribute designated as caution had 
evaporated from her system. She proceeded toward 
the Subway mechanically, the result of habit. Cas- 
ually she noted two taxicabs standing near the Sub- 
way entrance. That she noted them at all was due 
to the fact that Subway entrances were not fortui- 
tous hunting grounds for taxicabs. Only the unusual 
would have attracted her in her present condition of 
mind. It takes time and patience to weave a 
good web observe any spider time in finding a 
suitable place for it; patience in the spinning. 

All that worried Karlov was the possibility of her 



The Drums of Jeopardy 335 

not observing him. If he could place his taxicabs 
where they would attract her, even casually, the main 
difficulty would be out of the way. The moment she 
turned her head toward the cabs he would step out 
into plain view. The girl was susceptible and ad- 
venturesome. 

Kitty saw a man step out of the foremost taxicab, 
give some instructions to the chauffeur, and get back 
into the cab, immediately to be driven off at moder- 
ate speed. She recognized the man at once. Never 
would she forget that squat, gorilla-like body. Kar- 
lov! Yonder, in that cab! She ran to the remain- 
ing cab; wherein she differed from angels. 

"Are you free?'* 

"Yes, miss." 

"See that taxi going across town? Follow it and 
I will give you ten extra fare." 

"You're on, miss." 

Karlov peered through the rear window of his cab. 
If she had in tow a Federal agent the manoeuvre would 
fail, at a great risk to himself. But he would soon 
be able to tell whether or not she was being fol- 
lowed. 

As a matter of fact, she was not. She had returned 
to New York a day before she was expected. Her 
unknown downtown guardian would not turn up for 
duty until ordered by Cutty to do so. She entered 
the second cab with no definite plan in her head. 
Karlov, the man who wanted to kill Johnny Two- 



336 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Hawks, the man who held Stefani Gregor a prisoner! 
For the present these facts were sufficient. 

"Don't get too near," said Kitty through the 
speaking tube. "Just keep the cab in sight." 

A perfectly logical compensation. She herself 
had set in motion the machinery of this amazing 
adventure; it was logically right that she should end 
it. Poor dear old Cutty to fancy he could pull 
the wool over Kitty Conover's eyes! Cutty, the 
most honest man alive, had set his foot upon an 
unethical bypath and now found himself among 
nettles. To keep Johnny Two-Hawks prisoner in 
that lofty apartment while he hunted for the drums 
of jeopardy! Hadn't he said he had seen emeralds 
he would steal with half a chance? Cutty, playing 
at this sort of game, his conscience biting whichever 
way he turned! He had been hunting unsuccessfully 
for the stones that night he had come in with his face 
and hands bloody. Why hadn't he kissed her? 

Johnny Two-Hawks bourgeois ? Utter nonsense ! 
Of course it did not matter now what he was; he had 
dug a bridgeless chasm with that smile. Sometime 
to-morrow he and Stefani Gregor would be on their 
way to Montana; and that would be the last of them 
both. To-morrow would mark the fork in the road. 
But life would never again be humdrum for Kitty 
Conover. 

The taxicabs were bumping over cobbles, through 
empty streets. It was six by now; at that hour this 



The Drums of Jeopardy 337 

locality, which she recognized as the warehouse dis- 
trict, was always dead. The deserted streets, how 
ever, set in motion a slight perturbation. Supposing 
Karlov grew suspicious and turned aside from his ob- 
jective? Even as this disturbing thought took form 
Karlov's taxicab stopped, Kitty's stopped also, but 
without instructions from her. She had intended to 
drive on and from the rear window observe if Karlov 
entered that old red-brick house. 

"Go on!" she called through the tube. 

The chauffeur obeyed, but he stopped again di- 
rectly behind Karlov's taxicab. He slid off his seat 
and opened the door. His face was grim. 

Tumpitum-tump ! Tumpitum-tump! She did not 
hear the tocsin this time; she felt it on her spine 
the drums of fear. If they touched her ! 

"Come with me, miss. If you are sensible you 
will not be harmed. If you cut up a racket I'll have 
to carry you." 

"What does this mean?" faltered Kitty. 

"That we have finally got you, miss. You can 
see for yourself that there isn't any help in sight. 
Better take it sensibly. We don't intend to hurt you. 
It's somebody else we want. There's a heavy score 
against you, but we'll overlook it if you act sensibly. 
You were very clever last night; but the game de- 
pends upon the last trick." 

"I'll go sensibly," Kitty agreed. They must not 
touch her! 



338 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Karlov did not speak as lie opened the door of the 
House for her. His expression was Buddha-like. 

"This way, miss," said the chauffeur, affably. 

"You are an American?" 

"Whenever it pays." 

Presently Kitty found herself in the attic, alone. 
They hadn't touched her; so much was gained. Poor 
little fool that she was ! It was fairly dark now, but 
overhead she could see the dim outlines of the scuttle 
or trap. The attic was empty except for a few pieces 
of lumber and some soap boxes. She determined to 
investigate the trap at once, before they came again. 

She placed two soap boxes on end and laid a plank 
across. After testing its stability she mounted. 
She could reach the trap easily, with plenty of lever- 
age to spare. She was confident that she could draw 
herself up to the roof. She sought for the hooks and 
liberated them, then she placed her palms against 
the trap and heaved. Not even a creak answered 
her. She pressed upward again and again. The 
trap was immovable. 

Light. She turned, to behold Karlov in the door- 
way, a candlestick in his hand. 

"The scuttle is covered with cement, Miss Con- 
over. Nobody can get in or out." 

Kitty got down, her knees uncertain. If he 
touched her! Oh, the fool she had been! 

"What are you going to do with me?" she asked 
through dry lips. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 339 

"You are to me a bill of exchange, payable in 
something more precious to me than gold. I am 
going to keep you here until you are ransomed. 
The ransom is the man you have been shielding. 
If he isn't here by midnight you vanish. Oh, we 
shan't harm you. Merely you will disappear until 
my affairs in America are terminated. You are 
clever and resourceful for so young a woman. You 
will understand that we are not going to turn aside. 
You are not a woman to me; you are a valuable pawn. 
You are something to bargain for." 

"I understand," said Kitty, her heart trying to 
burst through. It seemed impossible that Karlov 
should not hear the thunder. To placate him, to 
answer his questions, to keep him from growing 
angry! 

"I thought you would." Karlov set the candle 
on Kitty's impromptu stepladder. "We saw your 
interest in the affair, and attacked you on that side. 
You had seen me once. Being a newspaper writer 
the New York kind you would not rest until you 
learned who I was. You would not forget me. You 
were too well guarded uptown. You have been out 
of the city for a week. We could not find where. 
You were reported seen entering your office this 
morning; and here you are. My one fear was that 
you might not see me. Personally you will have no 
cause to worry. No hand shall touch you." 

"Thank you for that." 



840 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Don't misunderstand. There is no sentiment 
behind this promise. I imagine your protector 
will sacrifice much for your sake. Simply it is un- 
necessary to offer you any violence. Do you know 
who the man is your protector is shielding?" 

Kitty shook her head. 

"Has he played the fiddle for you?" 

"Yes." 

Karlov smiled. "Did you dance?" 

"Dance? I don't understand." 

"No matter. He can play the fiddle nearly as 
well as his master. The two of them have gone 
across the world fiddling the souls of women out of 
their bodies." 

Kitty sat down weakly on the plank. Terror 
from all points. Karlov's unexcited tones his lack 
of dramatic gesture convinced her that this was 
deadly business. Terror that for all the promise 
of immunity they might lay hands on her. Terror 
for Johnny Two-Hawks, for Cutty. 

"Has he injured you?" she asked, to gain time. 

"He is an error in chronology. He represents 
an idea which no longer exists." He spoke English 
fluently, but with a rumbling accent. 

" But to kill him for that ! " 

"Kill him? My dear young lady, I merely want 
him to fiddle for me," said Karlov with another smile. 

"You tried to kill him," insisted Kitty, the dry- 
ness beginning to leave her throat. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 341 

"Bungling agents. Do you know what became of 
them the two who invaded your bedroom?" 
"They were taken away by the police." 
" So I thought. What became of the wallet? " 
"I found it hidden on the back of my stove." 
"I never thought to look there," said Karlov, 
musingly. "Who has the drums?" 

" The emeralds ? You haven't them ! " cried Kitty, 
becoming her mother's daughter, though her heart 
never beat so thunderously as now. "We thought 
you had them!" 

Karlov stared at her, moodily. "What is that 
button for, at the side of your bed?" 

Kitty comprehended the working of the mind that 
formulated this question. If she answered this 
truthfully he would accept all her statements. "It 
rings an alarm in the basement." 

Karlov nodded. "You are truthful and sensible. 
I haven't the emeralds." 

"Perhaps one of your men betrayed you." 
"I have thought of that. But if he had betrayed 
me the drums would have been discovered by the 
police. . . . Damn them to hell!" Kitty won- 
dered whether he meant the police or the emeralds. 
"Later, food and a blanket will be brought to you. 
If your ramson does not appear by midnight you will 
be taken away. If you struggle we may have to 
handle you roughly. That is as you please." 
Karlov went out, locking the door. 



342 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Oh, the blind little fool she had been! All those 
constant warnings, and she had not heeded ! Cutty 
had warned her repeatedly, so had Bernini; and she 
had deliberately walked into this trap. As if this 
cold, murderous madman would risk showing himself 
without some grim and terrible purpose. She had 
written either Cutty's or Johnny Two-Hawks 5 
death warrant. She covered her eyes. It was 
horrible. 

Perhaps not Cutty, but assuredly Two-Hawks. 
His life for her liberty. 

"And he will come!" she whispered. 

She knew it. How, was not to be analyzed. She 
just knew that he would come. What if he had 
smiled like that! The European point of view and 
her own monumental folly. He would come quietly, 
without protest, and give himself up. 

"God forgive me! What can I do? What can 
I do?" 

She slid to the floor and rocked her body. Her 
fault! He would come even as Cutty would have 
come had he been the man demanded. And Karlov 
would kill him because he was an error in chronol- 
ogy! She sensed also that the anarchist would not 
look upon his act as murder. He would be removing 
an obstacle from the path of his sick dreams. 

Comparisons! She saw how much alike the two 
were. Cutty was only Johnny Two-Hawks at fifty- 
two fearless and whimsical. Had Cutty gone 



The Drums of Jeopardy 343 

through life without looking at some woman as, last 
night, Two-Hawks had looked at her? All the rest 
of her life she would see Two-Hawks' eyes. 

Abysmal fool, to pit her wits against such men as 
Karlov ! Because she had been successful to a certain 
extent, she had overrated her cleverness, with this 
tragic result. ... He had fiddled the soul out 
of her. But death! 

She sprang up. It was maddening to sit still, 
to feel the approach of the tragedy without being 
able to prevent it. She investigated the windows. 
No hope in this direction. It was rapidly growing 
dark outside. What time was it? 

The door opened. A man she had not seen before 
came in with a blanket, a pitcher of water, and some 
graham crackers. His fingers were stained a bril- 
liant yellow and a peculiar odour emanated from his 
clothes. He did not speak to her, but set the articles 
on the floor and departed. 

Kitty did not stir. An hour passed; she sat as 
one in a trance. The tallow dip was sinking. By 
and by she became conscious of a fault sound, a tap- 
ping. Whence it came she could not tell. She 
moved about cautiously, endeavouring to locate it. 
When she finally did the blood drummed in her ears. 
The trap! Someone was trying to get in through the 
trap! 

Cutty! Thus soon! Who else could it be? She 
hunted for a piece of lumber light enough to raise 



344 The Drums of Jeopardy 

to the trap. She tapped three times, and waited. 
Silence. She repeated the signal. This time it was 
answered. Cutty! In a little while she would be 
free, and Two-Hawks would not have to pay for her 
folly with his life. Terror and remorse departed 
forthwith. 

She took the plank to the door and pushed one 
end under the door knob. Then she piled the other 
planks against the butt. The moment she heard 
steps on the stairs she would stand on the planks. 
It would be difficult to open that door. She sat 
down on the planks to wait. From time to time she 
built up the falling tallow. Cutty must have light. 
The tapping on the trap went on. They were break- 
ing away the cement. Perhaps an hour passed. At 
least it seemed a very long time. 

Steps on the stairs ! She stood up, facing the door, 
the roots of her hair tingling. She heard the key 
turn in the lock; and then as in a nightmare she felt 
the planks under her feet stir slightly but with sinister 
persistence. She presently saw the toe of a boot 
insert itself between the door and the jamb. The 
pressure increased; the space between the door and 
the jamb widened. Suddenly the boot vanished, 
the door closed, and the plank fell. Immediately 
thereafter Karlov stood inside the room, scowling 
suspiciously. 



CHAPTER XXX 

CUTTY arrived at the apartment in time to 
share dinner with Hawksley. He had wisely 
decided to say nothing about the escapade 
of Hawksley and Kitty Conover, since it had termi- 
nated fortunately. Bernini had telegraphed the gist 
of the adventure. He could readily understand 
Hawksley's part; but Kitty's wasn't reducible to 
ordinary terms of expression. The young chap had 
run wild because his head still wobbled on his should- 
ers and because his isolation was beginning to scratch 
his nerves. But for Kitty to run wild with him 
offered a blank wall to speculation. (As if he could 
solve the riddle when Kitty herself could not!) So 
he determined to shut himself up in his study and 
shuffle the chrysoprase. Something might come of 
it. Looking backward, he recognized the salient; 
at no time had he been quite sure of Kitty. She 
seemed to be a combination of shallows and unfath- 
omable deeps. 

From the Pennsylvania Station he had called up 
the office. Kitty had gone. Bernini informed him 
that Kitty was dining at a cafe on the way home. 
Cutty was thorough. He telephoned the restaur- 

345 



346 The Drums of Jeopardy 

ant and was advised that Miss Conover had reserved 
a table. He had forgotten to send down the opera- 
tive who guarded Kitty at that end. But the dis- 
tance from the office to the Subway was so insig- 
nificant! 

"You arc looking fit," he said across the table. 

"Ought to be off your hands by Monday. But 
what about Stefani Gregor? I can't stir, leaving him 
hanging on a peg." 

"I am going into the study shortly to decide that. 
Head bother you?" 

" Occasionally." 

"Ryan easy to get along with?" 

"Rather a good sort. I say, you know, you've 
seen a good deal of life. Which do you consider the 
stronger, the inherited traits or environment? " 

"Environment. That is the true mould. There 
is good and bad in all of us. It is brought into prom- 
inence by the way we live. An angel cannot touch 
pitch without becoming defiled. On the other hand, 
the worst gutter rats in the world saved France. 
Do you suppose that thought will not always be 
tugging at and uplifting those who returned from the 
first Marne?" 

"There is hope, then, for me!" 

"Hope?" 

"Yes. You know that my father, my uncle, and 
my grandfather were fine scoundrels." 

"Under their influence you would have been one, 



The Drums of Jeopardy 347 

too. But no man could live with Stefani Gregor and 
not absorb his qualities. Your environment has 
been Anglo-Saxon, where the first block in the picture 
is fair play. You have been constantly under the 
tutelage of a fine and lofty personality, Gregorys. 
Whatever evil traits you may have inherited, they 
have become subject to the influences that have sur- 
rounded you. Take me, for instance. I was born 
in a rather puritanical atmosphere. My environ- 
ments have always been good. Yet there lurks 
in me the taint of Macaire. Given the wrong envir- 
onment, I should now have my picture in the Rogues' 
Gallery." 

"You?" 

"Yes." 

Hawksley played with his fork. "If you had a 
daughter would you trust me with her?" 

"Yes. Any man who can weep unashamed over 
the portrait of his mother may be trusted. Once 
you are out there in Montana you'll forget all about 
your paternal forbears." 

Handsome beggar, thought Cutty; but evidently 
born under the opal. An inexplicable resentment 
against his guest stirred his heart. He resented 
his youth, his ease of manner, his fluency in the com- 
mon tongue. He was theoretically a Britisher; he 
thought British; approached subjects from a British 
point of view. A Britisher except when he had 
that fiddle tucked under his chin. Then Cutty ad- 



348 The Drums of Jeopardy 

mitted he did not know what he was. Devil take 
him! 

There must have been something electrical in 
Cutty's resentment, for the object of it felt it subtly, 
and it fired his own. He resented the freedom of 
action that had always been denied him, resented 
his host's mental and physical superiority. Did 
Cutty care for the girl, or was he playing the game as 
it had been suggested to him? Money and freedom. 
But then, it was in no sense a barter; she would be 
giving nothing, and the old beggar would be asking 
nothing. His suggestion! He laughed. 

"What's the joke?" asked Cutty, looking up from 
his coffee, which he was stirring with unnecessary 
vigour. 

"It isn't a joke. I'm bally well twisted. I laugh 
now when I think of something tragic. I am sorry 
about last night. I was mad, I suppose." 

"Tell me about it." 

Cutty listened intently and smiled occasionally. 
Mad as hatters, both of them. He and Kitty couldn't 
have gone on a romp like this, but Kitty and Hawks- 
ley could. Thereupon his resentment boiled up 
again. 

"Have you any idea why she took such a risk? 
Why she came here, knowing me to be absent? " 

"She spoke of a problem. I fancy it related to 
your approaching marriage. She told me." 

Cutty laid down his spoon. "I'd like to dump 



The Drums of Jeopardy 349 

Your Highness into the middle of East River for 
putting that idea into my head. She has consented 
to it; and now, damn it, I've got to back out of it!" 
Cutty rose and flung down his napkin. 

"Why?" asked the bewildered Hawksley. 

"Because there is in me the making of a first-rate 
scoundrel, and I never should have known it if you 
and your affairs hadn't turned up." 

Cutty entered his study and slammed the door, 
leaving Hawksley prey to so many conflicting 
emotions that his head began to bother him. Back 
out of it! Why? Why should Kitty have a prob- 
lem to solve over such a marriage of convenience, 
and why should the old thoroughbred want to back 
out? 

Kitty would be free, then? A flash of fire, which 
subsided quickly under the smothering truth. What 
if she were free? He could not ask her to be his 
wife. Not because of last night's madness. That 
no longer troubled him. She was the sort who 
would understand, if he told her. She had a soul 
big with understanding. It was that he walked in 
the shadow of death, and would so long as Karlov 
was free; and he could not ask any woman to share 
that. 

He pushed back his chair slowly. In the living 
room he took the Amati from its case and began im- 
provising. What the chrysoprase did for Cutty the 
fiddle did for this derelict solved problems. 



350 The Drums of Jeopardy 

He reviewed all the phases as he played. That 
dish of bacon and eggs, the resolute air of her, that 
popping fan ! [Allegretto.] She had found him sense- 
less on the floor. She had had the courage to come to 
his assistance. [Andante con espressione.] What had 
been in her mind that night she had taken flight 
from his bedroom, after having given him the 
wallet? Something like tears. What about? An 
American girl, natural, humorous, and fanciful. 
Somehow he felt assured that it had not been his 
kisses; she had looked into his eyes and seen the taint. 
Always there, the beast that old Stefani had chained 
and subdued. He knew now that this beast would 
never again lift its head. And he had let her go with- 
out a sign. [Dolorosomente.] To have gone through 
life with a woman who would have understood his 
nature. The test of her had been last night in the 
streets. His mood had been hers. [Allegretto con 
amore.] 

"Love," he said, lowering the bow. 

"Love," said Cutty, shifting his chrysoprase. 
There was no fool like an old fool. It did not serve 
to recall Molly in all her glory, to reach hither and 
yon for a handhold to pull him out of this morass. 
Molly had become an invisible ghost. He loved her 
daughter. Double sunset; the phenomenon of the 
Indian Ocean was now being enacted upon his own 
horizon. Double sunset. 

But why should Kitty have any problem to solve? 



The Drums of Jeopardy 351 

Why should she dodder over such a trifle as this 
prospective official marriage? It was only a joke 
which would legalize his generosity. She had sent 
that telegram after leaving this apartment. What 
had happened here to decide her? Had Hawksley 
fiddled? There was something the matter with the 
green stones to-night; they evoked nothing. 

He leaned back in his chair, listening, the bowl of 
his pipe touching the lapel of his coat. Music. 
Queer, what you could do with a fiddle if you knew 
how. 

After all there was no sense in venting his anger on 
Hawksley. He was hoist by his own petard. Why 
not admit the truth? He had had a crack on the 
head the same night as Hawksley; only, he had been 
struck by an idea, often more deadly than the butt 
of a pistol. He would apologize for that roaring 
exit from the dining room. The poor friendless 
devil ! He bent toward the green stones again. 

In the living room Hawksley sat in a chair, the 
fiddle across his knees. He understood now. The 
old chap was in love with the girl, and was afraid 
of himself; couldn't risk having her and letting her 
go. ... A curse on the drums of jeopardy! 
Misfortune followed their wake always. The world 
would have been different this hour if he 

The break in the trend of thought was caused by 
the entrance of Kuroki, who was followed by a man. 
This man dropped into a chair without apparently 



352 The Drums of Jeopardy 

noticing that the room was already tenanted, for he 
never glanced toward Hawksley. A haggard face, 
dull of eye. Kuroki bobbed and vanished, but re- 
turned shortly, beckoning the stranger to follow him 
into the study. 

"Coles?" cried Cutty delightedly. Here was the 
man he had sent to negotiate for the emeralds, free. 
"How did you escape? We've combed the town for 
you." 

"They had me in a room on Fifteenth Street. 
Once in a while I got something to eat. But I 
haven't escaped. I'm still a prisoner." 

"What do you mean by that? " 

"I am here as an emissary. There was nothing 
for me to do but accept the job." 

"Did he have the stones?" asked Cutty, without 
the least suspicion of what was coming. 

"That I don't know. He pretended to have them 
in order to get me where he wanted me. I've been 
hungry a good deal because I wouldn't talk. I'm 
here as a negotiator. A rotten business. I agreed 
because I've hopes you'll be able to put one over on 
Karlov. It's the girl." 

"Kitty?" 

"Karlov has her. The girl wasn't to blame. 
Any one in the game would have done as she did. 
Karlov is bugs on politics; but he's shrewd enough at 
this sort of game. He trapped the girl because he'd 
studied her enough to learn what she would or would 



The Drums of Jeopardy 353 

not do. Now they are not going to hurt her. They 
merely propose exchanging her for the man you've 
been hiding up here. There's a taxi downstairs. 
It will carry me back to Fifteenth; then it will return 
and wait. If the man is not at the appointed place 
by midnight he must go in this taxi the girl will 
be carried off elsewhere, and you'll never lay eyes 
on her again. Karlov and his gang are potential 
assassins; all they want is excuse. Until midnight 
they will not touch the girl; but after midnight, God 
knows ! What message am I to take back? " 

"Do you know where she is?" 

Cutty spoke without much outward emotion. 

"Not the least idea. Whenever Karlov wanted to 
quiz me, he appeared late at night from some other 
part of the town. But he never got much." 

"You saw him this evening?" 

"Yes. It probably struck him as a fine joke to 
send me." 

"And if you don't go back?" 

"The girl will be taken away. I'm honestly afraid 
of the man. He's too quiet spoken. That kind of 
a man always goes the limit." 

"I see. Wait here." 

At Cutty's approach Hawksley looked up apathet- 
ically. 

"Want me?" 

"Perhaps." 

" You are pale. Anything serious ? " 



354 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Yes. Karlov has got Kitty. " 

For a minute Hawksley did not stir. Then he got 
up, put away the Amati, and came back. He was 
pale, too. 

" I understand," he said. " They will exchange her 
forme. Am I right?" 

"Yes. But you are not obliged to do anything like 
that, you know." 

"I am ready." 

"You give yourself up?" 

"Wnynot?" 

"You're a man!" Cutty burst out. 

"I was brought up by one. Honestly, now, 
could I ever look a white man in the face again if I 
didn't give myself up? I did begin to believe that 
I might get through. But Fate was only playing 
with me. May I use your desk to write a line? " 

"Come with me," said Cutty, unsteadily. This 
was not the result of environment. Quiet courage 
of this order was race. No questions demanding if 
there wasn't some way round the inevitable. Cut- 
ty's heart glowed; the boy had walked into it, never 
to leave it. "I'm ready." It took a man to say 
that when the sequence was death. 

"Coles," said Cutty upon reentering the study, 
"tell Karlov that His Highness will give himself up. 
He will be there before midnight." 

"That's enough for me. But if there's the least 
sign that you're not playing straight it will be all off. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 355 

Two men will be watching the taxi and tne entrance. 
If you appear, it's good-night. They told me to 
warn you." 

"I promise not to appear." 

Coles smiled enigmatically and reached for his hat. 
He held his hand out to Hawksley. "You're a 
white man, sir." 

"Thanks," said Hawksley, absently. To have it 
all over with! 

As soon as the captive Federal agent withdrew 
Hawksley sat down at the desk and wrote. 

"Will this hold legally?" he asked, extending the 
written sheet to Cutty. 

Cutty saw that it was a simple will. In it Hawks- 
ley gave half of his possessions to Kitty and half 
to Stefani Gregor. In case the latter was dead the 
sum total was to go to Kitty. 

"I got you into a muddle; this will take you out 
of it. Karlov will kill me. I don't know how. I 
am his obsession. He will sleep better with me off 
his mind. Will this hold legally? " 

"Yes. But why Kitty Conover, a stranger?" 

"Is a woman who saves your life a stranger?" 

"Well, not exactly. This is what we might call 
zero hour. I gave you a haven here not particularly 
because I was sorry for you, but because I wanted 
those emeralds. Once upon a time Gregor showed 
them to me. Until I examined your wallet I sup- 
posed you had smuggled in the stones; and that would 



356 The Drums of Jeopardy 

have been fair game. But you had paid your way 
in honestly. Now, what did you do to Kitty Conover 
last night that decided her to accept that fool prop- 
osition? She sent her acceptance after she left you. 

"I did not know that. I played for her. She 
became music-struck, and I took advantage of it 
kissed her. Then she told me she was going to 
marry you." 

" And that is why you asked me if I would trust you 
with a daughter of mine? " 
"Yes." 

"Conscience. That explains this will." 
"No. Why did you accept my suggestion to 
marry her?" 

"To make her comfortable without sidestepping 
the rules of convention." 

"No. Because you love her the way I do." 
Cutty's pipe slipped from his teeth. It did not 
often do that. He stamped out the embers and 
laid the pipe on the tray. 

"What makes you think I love her?" 
"What makes me tell you that I do?" 
"Yes, death may be at the end of to-night's work; 
so I'll admit that I love her. She is like a forest 
stream, wild at certain turns, but always sweet and 
clear. I'm an old fool, old enough to be her father. 
I loved her mother. Can a man love two women 
with all his heart, one years after the other? " 

"It is the avatar; she is the reincarnation of the 



The Drums of Jeopardy 357 

mother. I understand now. What was a beautiful 
memory takes living form again. You still love the 
mother; the daughter has revived that love." 

"By the Lord Harry, I believe you've struck it! 
Walked into the fog and couldn't find the way out. 
Of course. What an old ass I've been! Simple as 
daylight. I've simply fallen in love with Molly all 
over again, thinking it was Kitty. Plain as the nose 
on my face. And I might have made a fine mess of 
it if you hadn't waked me up." 

All this gentle irony went over Hawksley's head. 
"When do you wish me to go down to the taxi?" 

"Son, I'm beginning to like you. You shall have 
your chance. In fact, we'll take it together. There'll 
be a taxi but I'll hire it. I'm quite positive I know 
where Kitty is. If I'm correct you'll have your 
chance. If I'm wrong you'll have to pay the score. 
We'll get her out or we'll stay where she is. In 
any event, Karlov will pay the price. Wouldn't 
you prefer to go out if you must in a glorious 
scrap?" 

"Fighting?" Hawksley was on his feet instantly. 
" Do you mean that? I can die with free hands? " 

" With a chance of coming out top-hole." 

"I say, what a ripping thing hope is always 
springing back!" 

Cutty nodded. But he knew there was one hope 
that would never warm his heart again. Molly! 
Well, he'd let the young chap believe that. Kitty 



358 The Drums of Jeopardy 

must never know. Poor little chick, fighting with 
her soul in the dark and not knowing what the matter 
was! Such things happened. He had loved Molly 
on sight. He had loved Kitty on sight. In neither 
case had he known it until too late to turn about. 
Mother and daughter; a kind of sacrilege, as if he had 
betrayed Molly! But what a clear vision acknowl- 
edged love lent to the mind! He understood Kitty, 
who did not understand herself. Well, this night's 
adventure would decide things. 

He smiled. Neither Kitty nor the drums of jeo- 
pardy; nothing. The gates of paradise again for 
somebody else! Whoever heard of a prompter re- 
ceiving press notices? 

"Let's look alive! We haven't any time to waste. 
We'll have to change to dungarees engineer togs. 
There'll be some tools to carry. We go straight 
down to the boiler room. We come up the ash exit 
on the street side. Remember, no suspicious haste. 
Two engineers off for their evening swig of beer at 
the corner groggery. Through the side door there, 
and into my taxi. Obey every order I give. Now 
run along to Kuroki and say night work for both of 
us. He'll understand what's wanted. I'll set the 
machinery in motion for a raid. How do you feel? 
I want the truth. I don't want to turn to you for 
help and not get it." 

Hawksley laughed. "Don't worry about me. 
I'll carry on. Don't you understand? To have 



The Drums of Jeopardy 359 

an end of it, one way or the other! To come free 
or to die there!" 

"And if Kitty is not where I believe her to be?" 
"Then I'll return to the taxi outside." 
To be young like that! thought Cutty, feeling 
strangely sad and old. "To come free or to die 
there!" That was good Anglo-Saxon. He would 
make a good American citizen if he were in luck. 

At half after nine the two of them knelt on the roof 
before the cemented trap. Nothing but raging heat 
disintegrates cement. So the liberation of this trap, 
considering the time, was a Herculean task, because 
it had to be accomplished with little or no noise. 
Cold chisels, fulcrums, prying, heaving, boring. To 
free the under edge; the top did not matter. Not 
knowing if Kitty were below that was the worst 
part of the job. 

The sweat of agony ran down Hawksley's face; 
but he never faltered. He was going to die to-night, 
somehow, somewhere, but with free hands, the way 
Stefani would have him die, the way the girl would 
have him die. All these thousands of miles to die 
in a house he had never seen before, just when life 
was really worth something! 

An hour went by. Then they heard Kitty's signal. 
Instinctively the two of them knew that the taps 
came from her. They were absolutely certain when 
her signal was repeated. She was below, alone. 
"Faster!" whispered Cutty. 



360 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Hawksley smiled. To say that to a chap when 
he was digging into his tomb ! 

When the sides of the trap were free Cutty tapped 
to Kitty again. There was a long, agonizing wait. 
Then three taps came from below. Cutty flashed 
a signal to the warehouse windows. In five minutes 
the raid would be in full swing from the roof, from 
the street, from the cellar. 

With their short crowbars braced by stout ful- 
crums the two men heaved. Noise did not matter 
now. Presently the trap went over. 

"Look out for your hands; there's lots of loose 
glass. And together when we drop." 

"Right-o!" whispered Hawksley, assured that 
when he dropped through the trap the result would be 
oblivion. Done in. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

K \RLOV, upon forcing his way past Kitty's 
barricade, stared at her doubtfully. This 
was a clever girl; she had proved her clever- 
ness frequently. She might have some reason other 
than fear in keeping him out. So he put a fresh 
candle in the sconce and began to prowl. He pierced 
the attic windows with a ranging glance; no one was 
in the yard or on the street. The dust on the win- 
dows had not been disturbed. 

To Kitty the suspense was intolerable. At any 
moment Cutty might tap a query to her. How to 
warn him that all was not well? A scream would do 
it; but in that event when Cutty arrived there would 
be no Kitty Conover. Something that would sound 
unusual to Cutty and accidental to Karlov. She 
hit upon it. She seized a plank from her barricade, 
raised it to a perpendicular position, then flung it 
down violently. Would Cutty hear and compre- 
hend that she was warning him? As a matter of 
fact, Cutty never heard the crash, for at that particu- 
lar minute he was standing up to get the kinks out of 
his knees. 

Karlov whirled on his heels, ran to Kitty, and 
snatched her wrist. "Why did you do that?" 

361 



362 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Kitty remained mute. "Answer!" with a cruel 
twist. 

"You hurt!" she gasped. Anything to gain time. 
She tried to break away. 

"Why did you do that?" 

"I was going to thrust it through a window to 
attract attention. It was too heavy." 

This explanation was within bounds of reason. It 
is possible that Karlov who had merely come up 
with a fresh candle would have departed but for a 
peculiarly grim burst of humour on the part of Fate. 

Tap tap tap? inquired the unsuspecting man 
on the roof exactly to Kitty like some innocent, 
inquisitive child embarrassing the family before 
company. 

Karlov flung her aside roughly, stepped under 
the trap, and cupped an ear. He required no ex- 
planations from Kitty, who shrank to the wall and 
remained pinned there by terror. Karlov's intuition 
was keen. Men on the roof held but one signi- 
ficance. The house was surrounded by Federal 
agents. For a space he wavered between two desires, 
the political and the private vengeance. 

A call down the stairs, and five minutes afterward 
there would be nothing on the spot but a jumble of 
smoking wood and brick. But not to see them die ! 

His subsequent acts, cold and methodical, fas- 
cinated Kitty. He took a step toward her. The 
scream died in her throat. But he did not go be- 



The Drums of Jeopardy 363 

yond that step. The picture of her terror decided 
his future actions. He would see them die, here, 
with the girl looking on. A full measure. Well 
enough he knew who were digging away the cement 
of the trap. What gave lodgment to this conviction 
he did not bother to analyze. The man he had not 
yet seen, who had balked him, now here, now there, 
from that first night; and who but the last of that 
branch of the hated house should be with him? To 
rend, batter, crush, kill! If he were bound for hell, 
to go there with the satisfaction of knowing that 
his private vengeance had been cancelled. The full 
reckoning for Anna's degradation: Stefani Gregor, 
broken and dying, and all the others dead ! 

He would shoot them as they dropped through 
the trap. Not to kill, but to maim, render helpless; 
then he would taunt them and grind his heels in their 
faces. Up there, the two he most hated of all living 
men! 

First he restored Kitty's barricade to keep as- 
sistance from entering before his work was completed. 
The butt of the first plank he pushed under the door 
knob. The other planks he laid flat, end to end, with 
the butt of the last snug against the brick chimney. 
The door would never give as a whole; it would have 
to be smashed in by axes. He then set the candle on 
the floor, backed by an up-ended soapbox. His 
enemies would drop into a pool of light, while they 
would not be able to see him at once. The girl 



564 The Drums of Jeopardy 

would not matter. Her terror would hold her for 
some time. These manoeuvres completed, he an- 
swered the signal, sat down on another box and 
waited, reminding Kitty of some grotesque Mon- 
golian idol. 

Kitty saw the inevitable. Thereupon her terror 
ceased to bind her. As Cutty flung back the trap 
she would cry out a warning. Karlov might and 
probably would kill her. Her share in this night's 
work her incredible folly required full payment. 
Having decided to die with Cutty, all her courage 
returned. This is the normal result of any sublime 
resolve. But with the return of her courage she 
evolved another plan. She measured the distance 
between herself and Karlov, calculating there would 
be three strides. As Cutty dropped she would fling 
herself upon the madman. The act would at least 
give Cutty something like equal terms. What be" 
came of Kitty Conover thereafter was of no im- 
portance to the world. 

Sounds. She became conscious of noises else- 
where in the house. The floor trembled. There 
came a creaking and snapping of wood, and she heard 
the trap fall. Karlov stood up, menacing, terrible. 
She saw where Cutty would drop, and now under- 
stood the cunning of the manoeuvre of placing the 
candle in front of the soapbox. Cutty would be an 
absolute mark for Karlov, protected by the shadow. 
She set herself, as a runner at the tape. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 365 

Karlov was not the type criminal, which when 
cornered, thinks only of personal safety. He was a 
political fanatic. All who opposed his beliefs must 
not be permitted to survive. There was a touch of 
Torquemada of the Inquisition in his cosmos. He 
could not kill directly; he had to torture first. 

He knew by the ascending sounds that there would 
be no way out of this for him. To the American, 
Russia was an outlaw. He would be treated as a 
dangerous alien enemy and locked up. Boris Kar- 
lov should never live to eat his heart out behind 
bars. 

Unique angle of thought, he mused. He wanted 
mud to trample them in, Russian mud. The same 
mud that had filled the mouth of Anna's destroyer. 

He was, then, a formidable antagonist for any two 
strong men; let alone two one of whom was rather 
spent, the other dizzy with pain, holding himself to- 
gether by the last shreds of his will. They dropped 
through the trap, Cutty in front of the candle, Hawks- 
ley a little to one side. The elder man landed 
squarely, but Hawksley fell backward. He crawled 
to his feet, swaying drunkenly. For a space he was 
not sure of the reality of the scene. . . . Torches 
and hobnailed boots! 

"So! "said Karlov. 

The torturer must talk; he must explain the im- 
mediate future to double the agony. He could have 
maimed them both, tnen trampled them to death, 



366 The Drums of Jeopardy 

but lie had to inform them of the fact. He pointed 
the automatic at Cutty because he considered this 
man the more dangerous of the two. He at once 
saw that the other was a negligible factor. He spoke 
slowly. 

"And the girl shall witness your agonies," he con- 
cluded. 

Cutty, bereft of invention, could only stare. 
Death! He had faced it many times, but always 
with a chance. There was none here, and the ab- 
solute knowledge paralyzed him. 

Had Cutty been alone Kitty would have rushed 
at the madman; but the sight of Hawksley robbed 
her of all mobility. His unexpected appearance was 
to her the Book of Revelation. The blind alley 
she had entered and reentered so many times and so 
futilely crumbled. . . . Johnny Two-Hawks! 

As for Hawksley, he knew he had but little time. 
The floor was billowing; he saw many candles where 
he knew there was only one. He was losing his 
senses. There remained but a single idea to do the 
old thoroughbred one favour for the many. Scorn- 
ing death perhaps inviting it he lunged headlong 
at Karlov's knees. 

This reckless challenge to death was so unex- 
pected that Karlov had no time to aim. He fired at 
chance. The bullet nipped the left shoulder of 
Hawksley's coat and shattered the laths of the parti- 
tion between the attic and the servant's quarters* 



The Drums of Jeopardy 367 

Under the impact of the human catapult Karlov 
staggered back, desperately striving to maintain his 
balance. He succeeded because Hawksley's senses 
left him in the instant he struck Karlov's knees. 
Still, the episode was a respite for Cutty, who dashed 
at Karlov before the latter could set himself or raise 
the smoking automatic. 

Kitty then witnessed dimly a primordial, titanic 
conflict which haunted her dreams for many nights 
to come. They were no longer men, but animals; 
the tiger giving combat to the gorilla, one striking 
the quick, terrible blows of the tiger, the other seeking 
always to come to grips. 

The floor answered under the step and rush. Rare 
athletes, these two; big men who were light on their 
feet. Kitty could see their faces occasionally and the 
flash of their bare hands, but of their bodies little or 
nothing. Nor could she tell how the struggle was 
going. Indeed until the idea came that they might 
be trampling Johnny Two-Hawks there was no 
coherent thought in her head, only broken things. 

She ran to the soapbox and kicked it aside. She 
saw Hawksley on his face, motionless. At least they 1 
should not trample his dead body. She caught hold 
of his arms and dragged him to the wall to discover 
that she was sobbing, sobs of rage and despair thatf 
tore at her breast horribly and clogged her throat. 
She was a woman and could not help; she could not 
help Cutty ! She was a woman, and all she could do 



368 The Drums of Jeopardy 

was to drag aside the lifeless body of the man who 
had given Cutty his chance! 

She knelt, turning Hawksley over on his back. 
There was a slight gash on one grimy cheek, possibly 
caused by contact with the latchets of Karlov's 
boots. She raised the handsome head, pressed it 
to her bosom, and began to sway her body from side 
to side. Tumult. The Federal agents were throw- 
ing their bodies against the door repeatedly. In the 
semi-darkness Cutty fought for his life. But Kitty 
neither heard nor saw. The world had suddenly 
contracted; there was only this beautiful head in her 
arms; beyond and about, nothing. 

Cutty felt his strength ebbing; soon he would not 
be able to wrench himself loose from those terrible 
arms. He knew all the phases of the fighting game. 
Chivalry and fair play had no part in this contest. 
Clear light, to observe what his blows were ac- 
complishing; a minute or two of clear light! Half 
the time his blows glanced. The next time those 
arms wound about him, that would be the end. He 
was growing tired, winded; he had not gone into bat- 
tle fresh. He knew that many of his blows had gone 
home. Any ordinary man would have dropped; 
but Karlov came on again and again. 

And all the while Karlov was not fighting Cutty; 
he was endeavouring to remove him. He was an 
obstacle. What Karlov wanted was that head the 
girl was holding hi her arms; to grind his heel into it. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 369 

Had Cutty stepped aside Karlov would have rushed 
for the other man. 

"Kitty, the door, the door!" Cutty shouted in 
despair, taking a terrible kick on the thigh. "The 
door!" 

Kitty did not stir. 

A panel in the door crushed in. The sole of a boot 
appeared and vanished. Then an arm reached in, 
groping, touched the plank propped under the door 
knob, wrenched and tugged until it fell. Immed- 
iately the attic became filled with men. It was time. 
Karlov had Cutty in his arms. 

This turn in the affair roused Kitty. Presently 
she saw men in a snarl, heaving and billowing, with a 
sudden subsidence. The snarl untangled itself; 
men began to step back and produce pocketlamps. 
Kitty saw Cutty's face, battered and bloody, appear 
and disappear in a flash. She saw Karlov's, too, as 
he was pulled to his feet, his hands manacled. Again 
she saw Cutty. With shaking hand he was trying to 
attach the loose end of his collar to the button. The 
absurdity of it ! 

"Take him away. But don't be rough with 
him. He's only a poor devil of a madman," said 
Cutty. 

Karlov turned and calmly spat into Cutty's face. 
A dozen fists were raised, but Cutty intervened. 

"No! Let him be. Just take him away and lock 
him up. He's a rough road to travel And hustle 



370 The Drums of Jeopardy 

a comfortable car for me to go home in. Not a word 
to the newspapers. This isn't a popular raid." 

As soon as the attic was cleared Cutty limped over 
to Molly Conover's daughter. The poor innocent! 
The way she was holding that head was an illumina- 
tion. With a reassuring smile an effort, for his 
lips were puffed and burning he knelt and put his 
hand on Hawksley's heart. 

"Done in, Kitty; that's all." 

"He isn't dead?" 

"Lord, no! He had nine lives, this chap, and only 
one of 'em missing to date. But I had no right to let 
him come. I thought he was fairly fit, but he wasn't. 
Saved my life, though. Kitty, your Johnny Two- 
Hawks is a real man; how real I did not know until 
to-night. He has earned his American citizenship. 
Fights like he fiddles on all four strings. All OUT 
troubles are at an end; so buck up." 

"Alive? He is alive?" 

The wild joy in her voice! "Yes, ma'am; and we 
two can regularly thank him for being alive also. 
That lunge gave me my chance. He's only stunned. 
Perhaps he'll need a nurse again. Anyhow, he'll be 
coming round in a minute or two. I'll wager the 
first thing he does is to smile. I should." 

Suddenly Kitty grew strangely shy. She became 
conscious of her anomalous position. She had prom- 
ised to marry Cutty, promised herself that she 
would be his true wife and here she was, holding 



The Drums of Jeopardy 371 

another man's head to her heart as if it were the most 
precious head in all the world. She could not put 
that head upon the floor at once; that would be a 
confession of her embarrassment; and yet she could 
not continue to hold Hawksley while Cutty eyed her 
with semi-humorous concern. 

Cutty was merciful, however. "Let me hold 
him while you make a pillow out of your coat." 
After he had laid Hawksley's head on the coat he 
said: "He'll come about quicker this way. We've 
had some excitement, haven't we?" 

"I don't want any more, Cutty; never any more. 
I've been a silly, romantic fool!" 

"Not silly, only glorious." 

"Your poor face!" 

"Banged up? Well, honestly, it feels as it looks. 
Kitty, this chap was going to give himself up in ex- 
change for you. Not a word of protest, not a ques- 
tion. All he said was: 1 am ready/ That's why 
I'm always going to be on his side." 

"He did that forme?" 

"For you. Did it never occur to you that you're 
the sort folks always want to do things for if you'll 
let them?" 

"God bless you, Cutty!" 

"He's always blessing me, Kitty. He blessed me 
with your mother's friendship, now yours. Kitty, 
I'm going to jilt you." 

"Jilt me?" her heart leaping. 



372 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Yes, ma'am. We can't go through with that 
mummery. We aren't built that way. I'll figure 
it out in some other fashion. But marriage is a 
sacred contract; and this farce would have left a scar 
on your honest mind. You'd have to tell some man. 
Your kind can't go through life without being loved. 
Would he understand? I wonder. He'll be human 
or you wouldn't fall in love with him; and always he'll 
be pondering and bedevilling himself with queer 
ideas because he'll be human. Of course there's a 
loophole you can sue me for breach of promise." 

"Please, Cutty; don't laugh! You're one of those 
men they call Greathearts. And now I'm going to 
tell you something. It wasn't going to be a farce. 
I intended to become your true wife, Cutty, make 
you as happy as I could." 

Cutty patted her hand and got up. Lord, how 
bruised and sore his old body was! . . . His 
true wife! She might have been his if he had not 
missed that train. But for this hour, hot with life, 
she might never have discovered that she loved 
Hawksley. His true wife! Ah, she would have been 
all of that Molly's girl! 

" Will you mind waiting here until I see where old 
Stefani Gregor is?" 

"No," answered Kitty, dreamily. 

Cutty limped to the door. Outside he leaned 
against the partition. Done in, body and soul. 
Always opening the gates of paradise for somebody 



The Drums of Jeopardy 373 

i 

else. . . . His true wife! Slowly he descended 
the stairs. 

Alone, Kitty smoothed back the dank hair from 
Hawksley's brow, which she kissed. Benediction 
and good-bye. 



CHAPTER XXXH 

BECAUSE it was assumed that some of Kar- 
lov's pack might be at large and unsuspect- 
ingly return to the trap, Federal agents would 
remain on guard all night. They explored the house, 
hunting for chemicals, documents, letters, and ad- 
dresses. They found enough high explosive to blow 
up the district. And they found Stefani Gregor. 
They were standing by the cot as Cutty came in. 

""Dead?" 

"Yes, sir. Just this minute went out." 

"Did he speak?" 

"A woman's name." 

"Rosa?" 

"Yes, sir. Looks to me as if he had been starved 
to death. Know who he was?" 

"Yes. Tell the coroner to be gentle. Once upon 
a time Stefani Gregor spoke to kings by right of 
genius." 

The thought that he himself might have been the 
indirect cause of Gregor's death shocked Cutty, who 
was above all things tender. 

He had held back the raid for several days, to 
serve his own ends. He could have ordered the raid 
from Washington, and it would have gone through 

374 



The Drums of Jeopardy 375 

as smoothly as to-night. The drums of jeopardy. 
Well, that phase of the game was done with. He 
had held up this raid so that he might be on hand to 
search Karlov; and until now he had forgotten the 
drums. Accurst! They were accurst. The death 
of Stefani Gregor would always be on his con- 
science. 

Cutty stared not very clearly at the cameo-like 
face so beautifully calm. As in life, so it was in 
death; the calm that had brooked and beaten down 
the turbulent instincts of the boy, the imperturbable 
calm of a great soul. Rosa. The sublime unselfish- 
ness of the man ! He had sacrificed wealth and fame 
for the love of the boy's mother unspoken, un- 
requited love, the quality that passes understanding. 
And his reward: to die on this cot, in horrid loneli- 
ness. Rosa. 

All at once Cutty felt himself little, trivial, beside 
this forlorn bier. What did he know about love? 
He had never made any sacrifices; he had simply 
carried in his heart a bittersweet recollection. But 
here! Twenty-odd years of unremitting devotion to 
the son of the woman he had loved Stefani Gregor. 
Creating environments that would develop the noble 
qualities in the boy, interposing himself between the 
boy and the evil pleasures of the uncle, teaching him 
the beautiful, cleansing his soul of the inherited mud. 
Reverently Cutty drew the coverlet over the fine old 
head. 



376 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"What's this?" asked one of the operatives. 
"Looks like the pieces of a broken fiddle." 

Out of those dark red bits of wood some of them 
bearing the imprints of hobnails Cutty constructed 
the scene. A wave of bitter rage rolled over him. 
The beast! Karlov had done this thing, with poor 
old Gregor looking on, too weak to intervene. Not 
so many years ago these bits of wood, under the 
master's touch, had entranced the souls of thousands. 
Cutty recalled a fairy tale he had read when a boy 
about a prince whose soul had been transformed into 
a flower which, if plucked or broken, died. Karlov 
had murdered Stefani Gregor, perhaps not legally but 
actually nevertheless. 

Rehabilitated in soul, Cutty left the room. He had 
read a compelling lesson in self-sacrifice. He was 
going to pick up his cross and go on with it, smiling. 
After all, Kitty was only an interlude; the big thing 
was the game; and shortly he would be in the thick 
of great events again. But Kitty should be happy. 

His old analytical philosophy resumed its func- 
tions. The contempt and jealousy of one race for 
another; what was God's idea in implanting that in 
souls? Hawksley was at base Russian. The boy's 
English education, his adopted outlook upon life, 
made it possible for Cutty to ignore the racial 
antagonism of the Anglo-Saxon for all other races. 
Stefani Gregor at one end of the world and he at the 
other, blindly working out the destinies of Kitty 



The Drums of Jeopardy 377 

Conover and Ivan Mikhail Feodorovich and so forth 
and so on, with the blood of Catharine in his veins! 
Made a chap dizzy to think of it. Traditions were 
piling up along with crowns and sceptres in the abyss. 

When he returned to the attic he felt himself 
fortified against any inevitability. Hawksley was 
sitting up, his back to the wall, staring groggily but 
with reckless adoration into Kitty's lovely face. 
Youth will be served. As if, watching these two, 
there could be any doubt of it! And he had bent 
part of his energies toward keeping them separated. 

"Ha!" he cried, cheerfully. "Back on top again, 
I see. How's the head?" 

"Haven't any; no legs; I'm nothing at all but a bit 
of my own imagination. How do you feel?" 

"Like the aftermath of an Irish wake." Then 
Cutty's battered face assumed an expression that 
was meant to typify gravity. "John," he said, 
"I've bad news for you." 

John. A glow went over the young man's aching 
body. John. What could that signify except that 
he had passed into the eternal friendship of this old 
thoroughbred? John. 

" About Stefani?" 

"Stefani is dead. He died speaking your mother's 
name." 

Hawksley's head sank; his chin touched his chest. 
He spoke without looking up. "Something told me 
I would never see him alive again. Old Stefani! If 



378 The Drums of Jeopardy 

there is any good in me it will be his handiwork. I 
say," he added, his eyes now seeking Cutty's, "you 
called me John. Will you carry on?" 

"Keep an eye on you? So long as you may need 
me." 

"I come from a lawless race. Stefani had to 
fight. Even now I'm afraid sometimes. God knows 
I want to be all he tried to make me." 

"You're all right, John. You've reached haven; 
the storms hereafter will be outside. Besides, 
Stefani will always be with you. You'll never pick 
up that old Amati without feeling Stefani near. Can 
you stand?" 

"Between the two of you, perhaps." 

With Kitty on one side and Cutty on the other 
Hawksley managed the descent tolerably well. Often 
a foot dragged. How strong she was, this girl ! No 
hysterics, no confusion, after all that racket, with 
death or something worse reaching out toward 
her; calmly telling him that there was another step, 
warning him not to bear too heavily on Cutty! 
Holding him up physically and morally, these two, 
now all he had in life to care for. Yesterday, un- 
known to him; this night, bound by hoops of steel. 
The girl had forgiven him; he knew it by the touch of 
her arm. . . . Old Stefani ! A sob escaped him. 
Their arms tightened. 

"No; I was thinking of Stefani. Rather hard to 
die all alone because he loved me." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 379 

Kitty longed to be alone. There were still many 
unshed tears some for Cutty, some for Stefani 
Gregor, some for Johnny Two-Hawks, and some for 
herself. 

In the limousine Cutty sat in the middle, Kitty on 
his left and Hawksley on his right, his arms round 
them both. Presently Hawksley 's head touched his 
shoulder and rested there; a little later Kitty did 
likewise. His children! Lord, he was going to have 
a tremendous interest in life, after all! He smiled 
with kindly irony at the back of the chauffeur. His 
children, these two; and he knew as he planned their 
future that they were thinking over and round but 
not of him, which is the way of youth. 

At the apartment Cutty decided to let Hawksley 
sit in an easy chair in the living room until Captain 
Harrison arrived. Kuroki was ordered to prepare a 
supper, which would be served on the tea cart, set at 
Hawksley's knees. Kitty because it was impos- 
sible for her to remain inactive set the linen and 
silver. She was in and out of the room, ill at ease, 
angry, frightened, bitter, avoiding Hawksley's im- 
ploring eyes because she was not sure of her own. 

She was sure of one thing, however. All the 
nonsense was out of her head. To-morrow she would 
be returning to the regular job. She would have a 
page from the Arabian Nights to look upon in the 
days to come. She understood, though it twisted 
her heart dreadfully: she was in the eyes of this man 



380 The Drums of Jeopardy 

a plaything, a pretty woman he had met in passing. 
If she had saved his life he had in turn saved hers; 
they were quits. She did not blame him for his 
point of view. He had come from the top of the 
world, where women were either ornaments or play- 
things, while she and hers had always struggled to 
maintain equilibrium in the middle stratum. Cutty 
could give him friendship; but she could not because 
she was a woman, young and pretty. 

Love him? Well, she would get over it. It 
might be only the glamour of the adventure they had 
shared. Anyhow, she wouldn't die of it. Cutty 
hadn't. Of course it hurt; she was a silly little fool, 
and all that. Once he was in Montana he would be 
sending for his Olga. There wasn't the least doubt 
in her mind that if ever autocracy returned to power, 
he'd be casting aside his American citizenship, his 
chaps and sombrero, for the old regalia. Well- 
truculently to the world at large why not? 

So she avoided Hawksley's gaze, sensing the sus- 
tained persistence of it. But, oh, to be alone, alone, 
alone! 

Cutty washed the patient's hands and face and 
patched up the cut on the cheek, interlarding his 
chatter with trench idioms, banter, jokes. Under- 
neath, though, he was chuckling. He was the hero 
of this tale; he had done all the thrilling stunts, 
carried limp bodies across fire escapes in the rain, 
climbed roofs, eluded newspaper reporters, fought 



The Drums of Jeopardy 381 

with his bare fists, rescued the girl. ... All 
with one foot in the grave ! Fifty-two, gray haired 
with a prospect of rheumatism on the morrow and 
putting it over like a debonair movie idol ! 

Hawksley met these pleasantries halfway by grous- 
ing about being babied when there was nothing the 
matter with him but his head, his body, and his legs. 
. . . Why didn't she look at him? What was 
the meaning of this persistent avoidance? She must 
have forgiven last night. She was too much of a 
thoroughbred to harbour ill feeling over that. Why 
didn't she look at him? 

The telephone called Cutty from the room. 
Kitty went into the dining room for an extra pair of 
salt cellars and delayed her return until she heard 
Cutty coming back. 

"Karlov is dead," he announced. "Started a 
fight in the taxi, got out, and was making for safety 
when one of the boys shot him. He hadn't the jewels 
on him, John. I'm afraid they are gone, unless he 
hid them somewhere in that What's the mat- 
ter, Kitty?" 

For Kitty had dropped the salt cellars and pressed 
her hands against her bosom, her face colourless. 

Hawksley, terrified, tried to get up. 

"No, no! Nothing is the matter with me but my 
head. ... To think I could forget! Good 
heavens ! " She prolonged the words drolly. " Wait." 

She turned her back to them. When she faced 



382 The Drums of Jeopardy 

them again she extended a palm upon which lay a 
leather tobacco pouch, cracked and parched and blis- 
tered by the reactions of rain and sun. 

" Think of my forgetting them ! I found them this 
morning. Where do you suppose? On a step of the 
fire-escape ladder.'* 

"Well, I'll be tinker-dammed!" said Cutty. 

"I've reasoned it out," went on Kitty, breath-/ 
lessly, looking at Cutty, "When the anarchist tore 
them from Mr. Hawksley's neck, he threw them out 
of the window. The room was dark; his companion 
could not see. Later he intended, no doubt, to go 
into the court and recover them and cheat his master. 
I was looking out of the window, when I noticed a 
brilliant flash of purple, then another of green. 
The pouch was open, the stones about to trickle out. 
I dared not leave them in the apartment or tell any- 
body until you came home. So I carried them with 
me to the office. The drums, Cutty! The drums! 
Tumpitum-tump ! Look ! ' ' 

She poured the stones upon the white linen table- 
cloth. A thousand fires! 

"The wonderful things!" she gasped. "Oh, the 
wonderful things! I don't blame you, Cutty. They 
would tempt an angel. The drums of jeopardy; 
and that I should find them!" 

"Lord!" said Cutty, in an awed whisper. 

Green stones! The magnificent rubies and sap- 
phires and diamonds vanished; he could see nothing 



The Drums of Jeopardy 383 

but the exquisite emeralds. He picked up one still 
warm with Kitty's pulsing life and toyed with it. 
Actually, the drums! And all this time they had 
been inviting the first comer to appropriate them. 
Money, love, tragedy, death; history, pageants, 
lovely women; murder and loot! All these days on 
the step of the fire-escape ladder! He must have 
one of them; positively he must. Could he prevail 
upon Hawksley to sell one? Had he carried them 
through sentiment? 

He turned to broach the suggestion of purchase, 
but remained mute. 

Hawksley's head was sunk upon his chest; his 
arms hung limply at the sides of his chair. 

"He is fainting!" cried Kitty, her love outweighing 
her resolves. "Cutty!" desperately, fearing to 
touch Hawksley herself. 

"No! The stones, the stones! Take them away 
out of sight! Fm too done in! I can't stand it! 
I can't The Red Night! Torches and hob- 
nailed boots!" 



CHAPTER XXXHI 

HER fingers seemingly all thumbs, her heart 
swelling with misery and loneliness, wanting 
to go to him but fearing she would be misun- 
derstood, Kitty scooped up the dazzling stones and 
poured them hastily into the tobacco pouch, which 
she thrust into Cutty's hands. What she had heard 
was not the cry of a disordered brain. There was 
some clear reason for the horror in Hawksley's 
tones. What tragedy lay behind these wonderful 
prisms of colour that the legitimate owner could not 
look upon them without being stirred in this manner? 

"Take them into the study," urged Kitty. 

"Wait!" interposed Hawksley. "I give one of 
the emeralds to you, Cutty. They came out of hell 
if you want to risk it! The other is for Miss Con- 
over, with Mister Hawksley's compliments." He 
was looking at Kitty now, his face drawn, his eyes 
bloodshot. "Don't be apprehensive. They bring 
evil only to men. With one in your possession you 
will be happy ever after, as the saying goes. Oh, 
they are mine to give; mine by right of inheritance. 
God knows I paid for them!" 

"If I said Mister " began Kitty, her brain 

confused, her tongue clumsy. 

884 



The Drums of Jeopardy 385 

"You haven't forgiven!" he interrupted. "A 
thoroughbred like you, to hold last night against me! 
Mister after what we two have shared together! 
Why didn't you leave me there to die?" 

Cutty observed that the drama had resolved itself 
into two characters; he had been relegated to the 
scenes. He tiptoed toward his study door, and as 
he slipped inside he knew that Gethsemane was 
not an orchard but a condition of the mind. He 
tossed the pouch on his desk, eyed it ironically, and 
sat down. His, one of them one of those marvel- 
lous emeralds was his! He interlaced his fingers 
and rested his brow upon them. He was very tired. 

Kitty missed him only when she heard the latch 
snap. 

She was alone with Hawksley; and all her terror 
returned. Not to touch him, not to console him; 
to stand staring at him like a dumb thing! 

"I do forgive Johnny! But your world and my 
world " 

"Those stains! The wretches hurt you!" 

"What? Where?" bewildered. 

"The blood on your waist!" 

Kitty looked down. "That is not my blood, 
Johnny. It is yours." 

"Mine?" Johnny. Something in the way she 
said it. "Mine?" trying to solve the riddle. 

"Yes. It is where your cheek rested when I 
thought you were dead." 



386 The Drums of Jeopardy 

The sense of misery, of oppression, of terror, all 
fell away miraculously, leaving only the flower of 
glory. She would be his plaything if he wanted 
her. 

Silence. 

"Kitty, I came out of a dark world to find you. 
I loved you the moment I entered your kitchen that 
night. But I did not know it. I loved you the night 
you brought the wallet. Still I did not understand. 
It was when I heard the lift door and knew you had 
gone forever that I understood. Loved you with all 
my heart, with all that poor old Stefani had fashioned 
out of muck and clay. If you held my head to your 

heart, if that is my blood there Do you, can 

you care a little?" 

"I can and do care very much, Johnny." 

Her voice to his ears was like the G string of the 
Amati. "Will you go with me?" 

"Anywhere. But you are a prince of some great 
Russian house, Johnny, and I am nobody." 

"What am I, Kitty? Less than nobody a home- 
less outcast, with only you and Cutty. An Ameri- 
can! Well, when I'm that it will be different; I'll 
be somebody. God forgive me if I do not give it 
absolute loyalty, this new country! . . . Never 
call me anything but Johnny." 

"Johnny." Anywhere, whatever he willed her 
to be. 

"I'm a child, Kitty. I want to grow up if I 



The Drums of Jeopardy 387 

can to be an American, something like that ripping 
old thoroughbred yonder." 

Cutty! Johnny wanted to be something like 
Cutty. Johnny would have to grow up to be his 
own true self; for nobody could ever be like Cutty. 
He wa"s as high and far away from the average man 
as this apartment was from hers. Would he under- 
stand her attitude? Could she say anything until 
it would be too late for him to interfere? She was 
this man's woman. She would have her span of 
happiness, come ill, come good, even if it hurt Cutty, 
whom she loved in another fashion. But for Johnny 
dropping through that trap she might never have 
really known, married Cutty, and been happy. 
Happy until one or the other died; never gloriously, 
never furiously, but mildly happy; perhaps under- 
standing each other far better than Johnny and 
she would understand each other. The average 
woman's lot. But to give her heart, her mind, her 
body in a whirlwind of emotions, absolute surren- 
der, to know for once the highest state of exalta- 
tion to love! 

All this tender exchange with half a dozen feet 
between them. Kitty had not stirred from the far 
side of the tea cart, and he had not opened his arms. 
She had given herself with magnificent abandon; 
for the present that satisfied her instincts. As for 
him, he was not quite sure this miracle might not be a 
dream, and one false move might cause her to vanish. 



388 The Drums of Jeopardy 

"Johnny, who is Olga?" The question was irre- 
pressible. Perhaps it was the last shred of caution 
binding her. All of him or none of him. There 
must be no other woman intervening. 

Hawksley stiffened in his chair. His hands closed 
convulsively and his eyes lost their brightness. 

"Johnny?" Kitty ran round the tea cart. "What 
is it?" She knelt beside the chair, alarmed, for the 
horror had returned to his face. "What did they 
do to you back there?'* She clasped one of his 
hands tensely in hers. 

"In my dreams at night!" he said, staring into 
space. "I could run away from my pursuers, but 
I could not run away from my dreams! Torches 
and hobnailed boots! . . . They trampled on 
her; and I, up there in the gallery with those damned 
emeralds in my hands! Ah, if I hadn't gone for 
them, if I hadn't thought of the extra comforts their 
sale would bring ! There would have been time then, 
Kitty. I had all the other jewels in the pouch. 
Horses were ready for us to flee on, loyal servants 
ready to help us; but I thought of the drums. A 
few more worldly comforts with hell forcing in the 
doors ! 

"I didn't tell her where I was going. When I 
came back it was to see her die! They saw me, and 
yelled. I ran away. I hadn't the courage to go 
down there and die with her! She thought I was in 
that hell pit. She went down there to die with me 




>% ' Stcfani is dead. He died speaking your 
mother's name 



The Drums of Jeopardy 389 

and died horribly, alone! Ah, if I could only shut 
it out, forget ! Olga, my tender young sister, Kitty, 
the last one of my race I could love. And I ran away 
like a yellow dog, like a yellow dog! I don't know 
where her grave is, and I could not seek it if I did! 
I dared* not write Stefani; tell him I had seen Olga 
go down under Karlov's heels, and then run away! 
. . . Day by day to feel those stones against my 
heart!" 

Nothing is more terrible to a woman than the 
sight of a brave man weeping. For she knew that he 
was brave. The sudden recollection of the emer- 
alds; a little more comfort for himself and sister if 
they were permitted to escape. Not a cowardly 
instinct, not even a greedy one; a normal desire to 
fortify them additionally against an unknown future, 
and he had surrendered to it impulsively, without 
explaining to Olga where he was going. 

"Johnny, Johnny, you mustn't!" She sprang up, 
seizing his head and wildly kissing him. "You 
mustn't! God understands, and Olga. Oh, you 
mustn't sob like that! You are tearing my heart to 
pieces!" 

"I ran away like a yellow dog! I didn't go down 
there and die with her!" 

"You didn't run away to-night when you offered 
your life for my liberty. Johnny, you mustn't!" 

Under her tender ministrations the sobs began to 
die away and soon resolved into little catching gasps. 



390 The Drums of Jeopardy 

He was weak and spent from his injuries; otherwise 
he would not have given way like this, discovered to 
her what she had not known before, that in every 
man, however strong and valiant he may be, there 
is a little child. 

"It has been burning me up, Kitty." 

"I know, I know! It is because you have a soul 
full of beautiful things, Johnny. God held you back 
from dying with Olga because He knew I needed 
you." 

"You will marry me, knowing that I did this 
thing?" 

Marry him! A door to some blinding radiance 
opened, and she could not see for a little while. 
Marry him! What a miserable wretch she was to 
think that he would want her otherwise! Johnny 
Two-Hawks, fiddling in front of the Metropolitan 
Opera House, to fill a poor blind man's cup ! 

"Yes, Johnny. Now, yesterdays never were. 
For us there is nothing but to-morrows. Out there, 
in the great country where souls as well as bodies 
may stretch themselves we'll start all over again. 
You will be the cowman and I'll be the kitchen 
wench. As in the beginning, so it will always be 
hereafter, I'll cook your bacon and eggs." 

She pulled his chair round and pushed it toward a 
window, dropped beside it and laid her cheek against 
his hand. 

"Let us look at the stars, Johnny. They know." 



The Drums of Jeopardy 391 

Kuroki, having arrived with coffee and sandwiches, 
paused on the threshold, gazed, wheeled right about 
face, and returned to the kitchen. 

By and by Kitty looked up into Hawksley's face. 
He was asleep. She got up carefully, lightly kissed 
the top of his head the old wound and crossed 
to Cutty's door. She must tell dear old Cutty of 
the wonderful happiness that was going to be hers. 
She opened the study door, but did not enter at 
once. Asleep on his arms. Why, he hadn't even 
opened that Ali Baba's bag! Tired out done in, 
as Johnny Two-Hawks called it in his English fash- 
ion. She waited; but as he did not stir she ap- 
proached with noiseless step. The light poured full 
upon his head. How gray he was! A boundless 
pity surged over her that this tender, valiant knight 
should have missed what first her mother had known, 
now she herself requited love. To have everything 
in the world without that was to have nothing. She 
would not wake him; she would let him sleep until 
Captain Harrison came. Lightly she touched the 
gray head with her lips and stole from the study. 

"Oh, Molly, Molly!" Cutty whispered into his 
rigid fingers. 

And so they were married, in the apartment, at the 
top of the world, on a May night thick with stars. 
It was not a wedding; it was a marriage. The world 
never knew because it was none of the world's busi- 



The Drums of Jeopardy 

ness. Who was Kitty Conover? A nobody. Who 
was John Hawksley? Something to be. 

Out of the storm into the calm; which is something 
of a reversal. Generally in love affairs happiness is 
found in the approach to the marriage contract; the 
disillusions come afterward. It was therefore logical 
that Kitty and her lover should be happy, as they 
had run the gamut of test and fire beforehand. 

The young people were to leave for the West soon 
after the supper for three. At midnight Cutty's 
ship would be boring down the bay. Did Kitty 
regret, even a little, the rice and old shoes, the 
bridesmaids and cake, so dear to the female of the 
species? She did not. Did she think occasionally 
of the splendour of the title that was hers? She 
did. To her mind Mrs. John Hawksley was incom- 
parably above and beyond anything in that Bible of 
autocracy the Almanach de Gotha. 

After supper Cutty brought in the old Amati. 

"Play," he said, lighting his pipe. 

So Hawksley played played as he never had 
played before and perhaps as he would never play 
again. We reach zenith sometimes, but we never 
stay there. But he was not playing to Cutty. Slate- 
blue eyes, two books with endless pages, the soul of 
this wife of his. He had come through. The mir- 
acle had been accomplished. Love. 

Kitty smiled and smiled, the doors of her soul 
thrown wide to absorb this magic message. Love. 



The Drums of Jeopardy 393 

Cutty smoked on, with his eyes closed. He 
heard it, too. Love. 

"Well," he said, sighing, "I see innovations out 
there in Montana. The round-up will be different. 
The Pied Fiddler of Bar-K will stand in the corral 
and fiddle, and the bossies will come galloping in, 
two by two and a few jackrabbits!" He laughed. 
"John, the Amati is yours conditionally. If after 
one year it is not reclaimed it becomes yours auto- 
matically. My wedding present. Remember, next 
whiter, if God wills, you'll come and visit me." 

"As if we could forget!" cried Kitty, embracing 
Cutty, who accepted the embrace stoically. "I'll 
be needing clothes, and Johnny will have to have his 
hair cut. Oh, Cutty, I'm so foolishly happy ! " 

"Time we started for the choo-choo. Time- 
tables have no souls. But, Lord, what a racket we've 
had!" 

"Well, rather!" from Hawksley. 

"Bo, listen to me. Out there you must remember 
that 'bally' and 'ripping' and 'rather' are premedi- 
tated insults. Gee- whiz! but I'd like a look-see 
when you say to your rough-and-readies: 'Bally 
rotten weather. What?' They'll shoot you up." 

More banter; which fooled none of the three, as 
each understood the other perfectly. The hour of 
separation was at hand, and they were fortifying their 
courage. 

"Funny old top," was Hawksley's comment as 



894 The Drums of Jeopardy 

they stood before the train gate. "Three months 
gone we were strangers." 

"And now " began Cutty. 

"With hoops of steel!" interrupted Kitty. "You 
must write, Cutty, and Johnny and I will be prompt." 

"You'll get one from the Azores." 

"Train going west!" 

"Good luck, children!" Cutty pressed Hawks- 
ley's hand and pecked at Kitty's cheek. "Shan't 
go through with you to the car. Kuroki is waiting. 
Good-bye!" 

The redcaps seized the luggage, and Hawksley 
and his bride followed them through the gate. Be- 
cause he was tall Cutty could see them until they 
reached the bumper. Funny old world, for a fact. 
Next time they met the wounds would be healed 
Hawksley's head and old Cutty's heart. Queer 
how he felt his fifty-two. He began to recognize 
one of the truths that had passed by : One did not sense 
age if one ran with the familiar pack. But for an 
old-timer to jog along for a few weeks with youth! 
That was it the youth of these two had knocked his 
conceit into a cocked hat. 

"Poor dear old Cutty!" said Kitty. 

"Old thoroughbred!" said Hawksley. 

And there you were, relegated to the bracket 
where the family kept the kaleidoscope, the sea-shell, 
and the album. His children, though; from now on 
be would have that interest in life. The blessed 



The Drums of Jeopardy 395 

infant Molly's girl taking a sunbonnet when she 
might have worn a tiara! And that boy, stepping 
down from the pomp of palaces to the dusty ranges 
of Bar-K. An American citizen. It was more than 
funny, this old top; it was stark raving mad. 

Well, "he had one of the drums. It reposed in his 
wallet. Another queer thing, he could not work 
up a bit of the old enthusiasm. It was only a green 
stone. One of the finest examples of the emerald 
known, and he could not conjure up the panorama 
of murder and loot behind it. Possibly because he 
was no longer detached; the stone had entered his 
own life and touched it with tragedy. For it was 
tragedy to be fifty-two and to realize it. Thus 
whenever he took out the emerald he found his im- 
agination walled in. Besides, it was a kind of magic 
mirror; he saw always his own tentative villainy. 
He was not quite the honest man he had once been. 

But what was happening down the line there? 
The passengers were making way for someone. 
Kitty, and racing back to the gate! She did not 
pause until she stood in front of him, breathless. 

"Forget something?" he asked, awkwardly. 

"Uh-hm!" Suddenly she threw her arms round 
his neck and kissed him. "If only the three of us 
could be always together! Take care of yourself. 
Johnny and I need you." Then she caught his 
hand, gave it a pressure, and was off again. 

The crowd instantly closed in behind her. Still 



396 The Drums of Jeopardy 

Cutty stood there, staring blindly in her direction. 
Old Stefani Gregor; sacrifice. By and by he became 
conscious of something warm and hard in his palm. 
He looked down. 

A green stone, green as the turban of a Mecca 
pilgrim, green as the eye of a black panther in the 
thicket. He dropped the emerald into a vest pocket 
and fumbled round for his pipe always his mental 
crutch. He lit it and marched out of the station into 
the night chuckling sardonically. For the second 
time the thought occurred to him: Of all his earthly 
possessions he would carry into the Beyond a 
chuckle. 

Molly, then Kitty; but the drums of jeopardy were 
his! 

* 

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